Can I Give You Some Feedback On Your Podcast?
Feedback can be helpful, in the right way.
Getting and receiving feedback has always been difficult.
Everyone hopes to feel like they’re so good at what they’re doing that nothing needs to be said, that the work is perfect and stands for itself.
And yet we’ve been receiving feedback since we were a child. Parents, teachers, and now the internet are constantly correcting us. And yet, the thought of someone offering ‘feedback’ or ‘advice’ sends us cringing into the corner.
Some companies have built “fearless feedback” into their culture, but many still do it the old fashioned way, where your supervisor asks you to “step into their office.”
Why are we afraid of it?
The biggest reason might be that we’re afraid we’ll feel like a failure. Being told to make changes to something we thought we nailed makes us doubt ourselves. Our insecurity rushes to the forefront, making us defensive to someone who’s merely trying to help, to someone who wants to make us better.
Podcasting is already full of fragile egos. On a certain level, podcasts are show biz. They attract a lot of people who need a spotlight, who enjoy the attention it could bring.
But podcasts are work. Hard work.
There are a million little details that go into producing an episode, and it’s difficult for anyone to be a master at every part of it. Even if you’re using a service to do most of the work for you, there are still a great number of ways things can be adjusted in the performance part, the part where you talk.
Even people who are naturals at it, or who have decades of experience, need feedback.
I’m a voiceover pro with over 30 years of experience, and yet I’m still working with mentors and coaches to get better. There is always something to work on.
But say you’re a casual podcaster, someone who’s only doing it because it seems fun or interesting, and you’re telling yourself you don’t need feedback. There are plenty of souls who go out of their way to avoid any kind of perceived criticism. But even if it’s for fun, why not make it the best it can be?
For some, they just don’t like to be criticized.
The thing is, feedback isn’t criticism, and shouldn’t feel like criticism, yet it often does. And this may be because of either who’s delivering the feedback or how it’s being delivered. We all know not to bother with online trolls, that’s not usually constructive.
Instead, you should be asking for feedback from people you respect and admire, maybe someone who’s been where you are.
And it might help if you thought of each piece of advice as a new tool you can use, or a new piece of clothing to try on.
Hopefully, your mentor is giving you feedback in a thoughtful, empathic manner. Each point should be accompanied by why and how it will help.
Feedback should be specific.
It shouldn’t be “You sound wrong,” it should be “You sound too far from the mic, can you move up closer?” Not “I didn’t like what you said there,” but “When you said X, it made me feel Y.”
Try not to fear feedback. Maybe even seek it out.
The hatred and vitriol that comes from online trolls is not helpful, and one person’s advice is not enough, but if there’s a common issue being raised by large numbers of people, it might be something to look at closer.
There is one type of ‘feedback’ that is not helpful.
It’s when friends and family say, “I love your podcast!” That’s merely validation. It might make you feel good, but it won’t make you better.
Keep in mind, you are always free to ignore any feedback, even from those you trust. If what you hear doesn’t make sense to you, or you just disagree, then don’t do it. Ultimately, it’s your podcast.