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How to be an Amazing Podcast Co-Host

There’s certainly many benefits of going solo with your podcast. You’re not tied to anyone else’s schedule but your own. You’re free to run with your own ideas and you’re in full creative control. All of which can be great! But for many, they don’t want to go it alone! They want the camaraderie of a partnership, the benefits of sharing the load, or maybe they just want to have the best time sharing the mic with their best friend. In short, they’re looking to be one-half of a totally awesome co-hosted podcast.

And I’m pretty sure that’s something many of us have wished for! And for many, it’s likely the way they came to start their podcast in the first place. What perhaps started off as a crazy idea around the dinner table may have escalated into a fully-fledged podcast with you as a bonafide co-host! 

But perhaps, however far along you are in your venture, you might be finding that co-hosting a podcast is not all sunshine and roses. You and your partner have different opinions, different temperaments, different work habits, and heck! you might even have different lunch preferences! And these can lead to all sorts of tension – no matter how great your relationship is! And you’re out here on the World Wide Web looking for some tools to help you work out your differences.

Or perhaps, you’re just looking for tips to help you be the best co-host you can be and make your podcast the best that it can be. Either way, you’re in the right place…

A co-hosted podcast full of banter, engaging conversations, and interesting, varied opinions and viewpoints does not just happen! To really hit the co-hosting magic, you and your fellow host are going to need a solid plan to help you accomplish this and so much more!

And we’ve got your back! We’ve got 10 tips to help you be one amazing co-host! Let’s check them out! 

Related read: Does Your Podcast Need a Co-Host?

1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

ALWAYS communicate. Nothing destroys a relationship quicker than a lack of communication. If your partnership is going to be one that stands the test of time, you’re going to need some serious communication skills, and not just with your audience, you’re going to need these with your co-host as well.

From the beginning, make open communication your aim. Communicate your expectations, your vision, and your goals. Then set regular times to get together to discuss how things are going, how you’re both feeling, where change may be needed, and whether the goals and mission remain the same. 

This doesn’t have to be a formal conversation. It can be a regular coffee date or sushi lunch, and just a casual conversation, but the aim must be to regularly touch base to see how each other is doing. This open channel of regular communication will ensure that you’re able to deal with any minor issues that may arise and prevent these from becoming major problems later on.

Which leads nicely to our next tip…

2. Agree to Honest Conversations

It is important that when you do set aside that time to communicate that you and your co-host agree to have honest conversations where you are able to share your honest feelings and feedback. This, again, will help ensure that any issues that one or both of you may have can be fixed before they become the Yoko Ono to your partnership. 

It’s a good idea to lay out some ground rules for these conversations right at the off-set. If you both agree that these conversations are for the betterment of your show, and even your relationship, and that whatever is said is with each other’s best interest at heart, then you should be able to safeguard against offense being taken or feelings getting hurt. 

3. Agree on Commitment

It is important that, together, you agree not only on what the commitment to the podcast journey looks like but also the commitment to your roles and responsibilities. Even if your co-host is a good friend, it is still important to draw up a contract where your roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. This will help one person from feeling like they’re carrying all the weight and prevent resentment from settling in. 

Putting down your roles and responsibilities, as well as your goals, on paper gives you a tangible record you can always refer back to, but it also makes these “real” and you’ll be less likely to stray from these as time goes on. Once these have been clearly defined, you can be a great podcast co-host by sticking to these commitments and honoring your personal roles and responsibilities.

4. Agree to Disagree

This is not referring to the fundamentals of the show, such as the goals or levels of commitment,  but is referring to differing opinions based on the content of your show. You may cover a topic which you realize you simply do not have the same viewpoints on — and that’s ok! As long as you both show respect to the other person’s point of view, these disagreements can provide for very interesting discussions. 

Those topics where you share different viewpoints actually have the potential to make for some of your best episodes…if you’re able to allow each other the space for a difference of opinion or point of view. You can be a great podcast co-host by avoiding the need to have to “be right” if these types of situations occur. Rather, with respect and open-mindedness, allow the conversation to flow naturally, giving your co-host the opportunity to share their input, without you shouting the odds, or interrupting with your point of view. This does nothing for your listeners! But a balanced conversation can give so much value! And could even help you expand your show’s reach! 

5. Always Put in the Preparation Time

You may work exceptionally well with your co-host. There may be tons of chemistry, quick banter, and no shortage of conversation, but this does not mean you can skip the preparation process. If you ride on the coattails of your chemistry for too long, your audience will start to notice that you’re not putting in the effort, making them wonder if they should put in the time.

Preparation is also important when it comes to the content you plan to cover in each episode. Yes, you might be going for the cool, off-the-cuff vibe, but there’s actually a LOT of preparation that goes into this type of podcast format! And this is because, at the end of the day, a great podcast is always about great content. It’s of no use putting all that effect into your content, only to have you or your co-host miss the important questions you’d prepared stellar answers to. Not only is this a waste of your and your co-hosts time, but it also robs the audience of getting the best content possible from your show. Be a great co-host by always putting in the time needed to make your content shine!

Related read: The Top 10 Different Types Of Podcast Formats

6. Know Your Role

Your roles and responsibilities in terms of creating the podcast must be defined, but you also need to know your role within each episode. This means deciding who takes the lead for a segment and who is the one to react or ask all the follow-up questions.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for how this will work best — it’s dependent on your show and how you compile your content. But what is important is that these roles should be decided on beforehand, particularly if they change from segment to segment, and marked on your script or outline, so that there’s no awkward pauses or clumsy transitions between segments. 

Related read: Top Tips For Scripting Your Podcast

7. Develop Silent Communication

This is a great tip for when it comes to recording your podcast episodes with your co-host. Together, come up with a few ways you can silently communicate with each other during the recording process. 

This refers to hand signals or other non-verbal cues you should use to make your recording as seamless as possible. It’s very unpleasant for listeners if co-hosts talk over each other, or are constantly interrupting one another! But with hand signals, this would be kept to a minimum. If you signal to your co-host that you’re about to finish your piece, they can jump in with their question or insight at the right time, ensuring that the conversation flows smoothly and no one gets interrupted, which can lead to interpersonal frustration.

8. Focus on Your Audience

Tip Number 8 for being a great podcast co-host is to remember it’s not all about you! Or your co-host! Yes, you are vital parts of your podcasting puzzle. Let’s face it, without your unique outlooks and spin on your topic, your show wouldn’t even exist! But it’s still not about you. It’s about your audience. 

It can be very easy to get caught up in a great conversation and forget that there are actually many other listeners! So even though great conversation and dialogue is what you’re after, your audience needs to feel a part of the conversation, and not like they are merely eavesdropping on something they are excluded from. Think about how you can include them in the conversation, while still holding true to that special dynamic you have with your co-host.

9. Always Be Present 

One of the best ways to be an awesome partner is to simply be present. When you’re making the time to go over your next episode’s script, or when you’re busy recording, give the task and your partner your full attention. 

To be a really great podcast co-host, you need to take the same care with the relationship as you would with any other meaningful relationships in your life. Even if your co-host is your BFF, you’re adding another layer to your friendship when you decide to sit behind a mic together. Honor that relationship, and your friendship, by being present in your capacity as co-host, giving your co-host, as well as your listeners, your full attention, and you’ll be able to craft a phenomenal podcast episode each and every time you join forces and record. 

10. Remember You’re a Team

Last but certainly not least, remember that you are a team. The foundation of any great relationship is aiming to showcase your partner’s gifts and talents, rather than your own. As a co-host, you shouldn’t try and embarrass your partner or point out their flaws while you are recording. Good-natured ribbing is one thing, but throwing your partner under the bus during an episode is another! 

As a co-host, don’t try and always get the last word or the last laugh — your audience will most definitely pick on that! In other words, don’t try and steal your co-host’s thunder, but rather create opportunities for them to have their moment in the sun. If they do the same for you, you’re well on your way to one beautiful partnership. 

In Conclusion

It takes two to tango. And, if Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock are to be believed, It also Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right. But it can also take two to make a thing – like your podcast – go very wrong!

But not if we can help it! Going on a podcast adventure with a co-host can be an incredible experience! The banter and belly-laughs, the tense moments of different opinions, or those “aha” moments where you really go deep into your topic are all that much better with a partner by your side. And just as it is in any relationship, you will never be able to really control what the other person does or how they’ll respond, which can be scary! But you can make sure that you’re always on your A-game, always giving your best, and doing all you can to be the best darn podcast co-host you can be! So put these tips into practice, and there will be no stopping you and your partner in crime! 

Related read: How A Podcast Host Can Be An Amazing Podcast Guest

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