Thank you so much for all the comments about my story from episode 3. If you haven't had a chance to hear that one yet, I recommend you go back and give it a listen. It'll help with this next question I want to ask. Go ahead, head over to episode 3. They're all short episodes, so it won't take too long. I'll wait.
Done? Great. OK.
After hearing that episode, how did that make you feel about me? Could you relate to any part of my story? I'm not asking for selfish reasons, but to show you that sharing your own story can create an impact with listeners. They feel more connected to you after you showed up to be vulnerable and heard something personal about you. This all ties into being your authentic self.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary states that authentic means to be true to one's own personality, spirit, or character; is sincere and authentic with no pretensions. It's that authenticity that ties your listener's emotions to you. Finding your voice means sharing your story. Stories are who we are.
I was working with a podcaster who had a few episodes under her belt, but it wasn't until she shared her story, that she was able to see engagement. This response of comments and replies to her newsletter about that episode is evidence that your listener cares because they took action fuelled by what you said to make the effort to say something back! Most listeners won't comment and at times it could feel like a one-sided conversation, but when you feed their emotions, with how you share your story, they want to share too. They come out of the woodwork to say hello! So, hello!
Because sharing your story means you are serving others. Your listeners may have had similar experiences and that forms an instant bond. Now, I'm not saying you have to reveal every little detail about yourself. Sharing your story doesn't have to mean going on and on about yourself or your past. We're not trying to be narcissists here. It's about sharing your experience in relation to the conversation. A tidbit into your life with context on what your main message is. Think of it like any new relationship that you create. Maybe you started a new job and am meeting new co-workers for the first time. Maybe it's that first date! What are you going to share beyond your name and what do you do for a living? Be vulnerable in conversations by sharing a story on a personal level to avoid generalizations. This shows that you're also human and listeners can relate. By focusing on small stories, trust can be built which can help to reach breakthroughs on deeper issues, when you really want to get deep on a conversation, especially if your podcast touches on taboo or uncommonly talked about topics. Sharing your story can create understanding and trust. So when it comes to your podcast, you have to do the same in your episodes. I challenge you, if you haven't done so yet, to create an episode about your why. Your reason for starting your podcast and the journey that led you to where you are today. But how much is too much?
A podcaster asked me that same question the other day. How much vulnerability do you share? Within your stories, make sure you have some boundaries too. What are you willing to share or not share about your story? What is too personal or not your place to say? Would sharing this part of your story benefit your audience and give them a place to connect with you? If you feel a little scared to share, then that may just be your bravery. Pushing yourself a little over the edge is a good thing, but only if you're ready. If you feel anxiety or that this is something that you'd never share with the person closest to you, perhaps that would be too much. You need to be in a place of truth and be ready and willing to share.
The beauty of most podcasts is it's not live. So record it, but wait a day or so and if you get that nagging feeling, edit, re-record it, or skip it altogether. Your heart will know. Being a Podcaster is also like being an Artist. You've created this piece of audio art and you send it out into the world. Once it's out, let go and let it be. Being authentic means sharing your personal experiences to inspire your listener, to show them that you understand or that they're not alone. It's your voice. Show up and share it in your own way.
When doing so, embrace your weirdness. If you're silly, go with it. If you naturally stumble, then laugh along with the mistakes. If you acknowledge who you are through your voice, listeners will connect with that confidence. Tell your story like a fact and don't apologize for your experience. You'll hear it in your voice. I want you to use the words "I believe" instead of I think. I hear "I think" all the time on podcasts. Especially if you are a guest on a show, we are already here listening wanting to know your opinion, so don't say "I think". Say "I believe". Try it out even with your own name. I think my name is Mary or I believe my name is Mary. Silly sounding, but you hear the difference. It's very different in tone. Listeners will connect with that emotion you'll bring to your story, your belief, your facts. You're letting people in, a little bit at a time, so they can understand what you're all about. Share your values, your why, your reason for doing what you do.
When you're able to share your story without hesitation, to really embody your experiences, and to share what you've learned along the way, there's no better way to truly be your authentic self. No one can take your story away from you.
So what is it that has you ignited to create a podcast? Tell me. And tell me like it's a fact, so I can't argue with you. That's your confidence in your voice, in your story.
You know what? Leave me a voice note, say hello. Record what's holding you back about sharing your authenticity on your phone and email it to me at VisibleVoicePodcast@gmail.com. I'd love to hear your story about what's holding you back and perhaps it can also help another podcaster. So thank you!