“Dial Down the Information Overload to Create a Bingeable Podcast” with Kwame Christian of the Negotiate Anything Podcast


As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a bingeable podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing award-winning author and sought after national keynote speaker Kwame Christian. He is also the Director of the American Negotiation Institute, a subject matter expert in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution, and has conducted workshops throughout North America and abroad.

Host of the world’s leading industry podcast, Negotiate Anything, Kwame is dedicated to empowering others through the art and science of negotiation and persuasion. Podcast episodes feature leading experts in the field. Now downloaded more than one million times, Negotiate Anything has a dedicated and growing following with listeners in more than 180 countries around the world.

Kwame’s TEDx Dayton talk, Finding Confidence in Conflict, was ranked the most popular TEDx Talk on the topic of conflict in 2017 and has been viewed nearly 130,000 times. His best-selling Amazon Book, Nobody Will Play With Me, has helped countless individuals overcome the fear, anxiety, and emotion associated with difficult conversations through a branded framework called Compassionate Curiosity.™

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Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?

I am a business lawyer by trade but my true passion is empowering people by helping them to master the skills of negotiation and conflict resolution. The best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations. That’s why I’ve made this my calling — I want to help people overcome barriers so they are empowered to get what they want and deserve in life.

My Undergraduate degree is in Psychology and for the longest time I wanted to be a therapist. This background informs my approach. It doesn’t matter what skills you have if you lack the confidence and self-esteem to use them.

So, during trainings and personal coaching sessions, I start with personal psychology to help people to overcome emotional barriers to high-level performance in a negotiation setting.

I refer to myself as a “recovering people pleaser” so I know how challenging life can be for someone that is unwilling to engage in difficult conversations.

Share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting.

I noticed that a large number of people in rural Minnesota were listening to Negotiate Anything. In fact, at one point, more people were listening there than in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. I didn’t understand why I had such a following there. After I started to encourage my listeners to reach out to me on LinkedIn, I figured it out. An executive at Target was a listener and had shared the episodes with his team. This led to the development of a relationship, and now we are exploring the opportunity to work together.

Share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting. Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?

One of the first things I realized when I started podcasting is that I was going to make a lot of mistakes. (If you have a podcast and you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.)

For example, once I was conducting an interview in person and we were having a great conversation and then my computer suddenly shut down. As a result, I lost all of the audio from the episode. I was so embarrassed and upset.

Do you know what I did next? I got in my car and drove to the nearest donut shop for a donut binge. It probably wasn’t the most healthy response but the moral of the story is — avoid recording on inferior equipment. And, if you’re taking that risk, have your favorite comfort food handy.

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

I started the podcast in May of 2016 and I have aired 190 episodes.

What are the main takeaways, lessons, or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?

With a skills-based podcast, I think it’s easy to overwhelm people by trying to give them too much information. I realized people started to get more out of the episodes when I dialed it down to avoid information overload.

My goal is simple — I want listeners to leave with at least one practical and actionable tip that they can immediately utilize in their next difficult conversation.

In order to do this, I need to be very clear, concise, and most importantly, encouraging. That last part is often overlooked in technical podcasts because people think it’s just about making sure the listener understands. But again, confidence is an important and often missing ingredient when it comes to difficult conversations. It’s not enough to have the skills, one must also have the confidence. I find myself playing the role of both lead trainer and cheerleader.

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Kwame Christian!

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Kwame Christian of the Negotiate Anything Podcast shares the best ways to:

1) Book Great Guests. Invite more guests than you need so you have a guest waiting list. This helps you plan ahead for unexpected absences or changes and keeps your guest list growing.

Another option is to ask your listeners who they think would be a good guest. Eventually, you will get to a point where people are asking to be on your show. The vast majority of these people won’t be a good fit so you’ll need to be ready to say no in order to stay true to your mission.

2) Increase Listeners. Bea guest on other shows. Find shows that are similar to yours with listeners that are interested in your expertise. Every time you do well on another show, you will leave an impression and your audience will grow organically.

3) Produce in a Professional Way. Remove yourself from the process where it makes sense. If you’re not an editor, don’t try to edit. Get a professional to do what you don’t do, because if you try to do it yourself it will take three times longer than you think, the results will not be great, and you’ll be burning yourself out.

4) Encourage Engagement. Ask for engagement and ask regularly.

Connect with listeners on various other channels including social media channels so they feel a connection to you and are more willing to communicate with you. Also, listen. If people feel like you are not truly listening then they won’t continue the conversations.

5) Monetize. Focus on the business behind your show. If you have a devoted but small following that is interested in a specific product or service, you can build business consistently. Some of my friends with the smallest podcasts have the most lucrative businesses.

In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Kwame Christian!