A tip for podcast hosts: The Spontaneous Summary

There’s a gazillion tips out there for running a podcast. But there’s hardly any for how to have a good conversation. So here’s a quick tip for all you podcast hosts aspiring to become better conversationalists.

When your guest finishes speaking, summarize what they just told you.

I call this The Spontaneous Summary.

It’s spontaneous because your guest isn’t reading off a script (and neither are you). And it’s a summary because one of the best ways to show someone you’re listening is to test if their ideas work with your ideas.

The Spontaneous Summary is like a form of intellectual eye-contact. “Not only do I see you, but I understand where you’re coming from. And even if I don’t, I’d like to at least try.”

You don’t need to do this all the time (because that’s annoying). But if you do it often enough, your guest will know that you’re paying attention and not playing flappy bird or some damn thing.

The Spontaneous Summary gives your guest a sense of trust and connection. And it gives the conversation a boost of momentum.

Your guest trusts you’re not checking Twitter while they’re speaking. Your guest feels more connected to you as you try to work your way into their worldview. And the conversation gains momentum as your guest knows that speaking to you isn’t a waste of effort.

Here’s the same idea in 5 words.

To be interesting, be interested.

Dale Carnegie

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