Transcript for "Exploration - with Elise Smith"

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00:00.00
Craig
Hello I’m Craig Constantine welcome this is the podcaster community show short conversations that are not just about podcasting because I like to take the scenic route. Our guest today is Elise Smith Welcome Elise!

00:13.82
Elise
Hey Craig I’m glad to be here.

00:19.38
Craig
I know you through as a lot of people on the show I know you through the podcasting course and um, so we do we have like 10 minutes before we press record with these things and and I’m always I have like 1 eye on the clock and one eye on the guest and we went off. We started going off on like boom mics and Mike stands and tech. Nico I’m going to say geeky stuff hum myself out at geek. Um, and I’m wondering if you want to talk about the nuts and bolts of like how you create your show like how did you get to the title How did you get the description. What was it like or do you want to just. Talk about like this is where you’re going with the show. So. It’s like yeah I’ll give you a choice. Do you want to do which way book you want to do the how did you get to it or what are you going to do with it.

00:59.97
Elise
Yeah let’s jump in on the nuts and bolts I think 1 interesting thing I’ve learned doing this the akimba workshop for podcasting is about myself is that I really am. The biggest resistance comes from wanting to jump into the nuts and bolts and so I’ve actually used this time to say okay I’m gonna allow myself 20 minutes to pick a mic for my podcast which was like a horrible thought to me and then I’m like I’m gonna. Only use, whatever they recommend I’m not gonna cause I’m a research nerd and but I would spend if I if you know if I allowed myself like 5 hours picking a mic 10 hours picking where to do the recording.

01:39.25
Craig
M.

01:51.67
Elise
And so my goal here was just to try to do a podcast with the least amount of research and it’s been a really interesting experience and turn into the tech into the tech.

01:59.41
Craig
Yeah I often think I should tattoo the parito principle 8020 on the inside of my eyelids like you know or on my retina. So it’s just overlaid on my universe. What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work. Um, which is there’s a lot of deep wisdom right in avoiding in we often say podcasting is just.

02:03.18
Elise
Yes, yes.

02:19.52
Craig
There’s no field with rabbit holes. It’s just all rabbit holes like every single bit of it as a whole and there’s clearly an advantage to having people that are either traveling with you or like right in front of you.

02:21.70
Elise
I Feel that yes.

02:34.29
Craig
You know, go? yeah, you can just step over that rabbit hole like just you know, grab any pair of headphones. It’s fine. Um, you know and the people who are really into Audios or audio Files just freaked out like what do you mean like headphones or a thing. Um, but I’m wondering if there is a piece of that tech or those rabbit holes that you enjoyed. Digging into.

02:56.21
Elise
I would say I’ve enjoyed the rabbit hole I’ve loved the most is about the how to interview. So the you know learning about open in questions versus yes and no ah I.

03:05.56
Craig
Um.

03:14.45
Elise
Tip I really loved from Tim Ferriss was picking a gold nugget story for the beginning that they’ve already told 9 or 10 times so that they feel super comfortable, right? at the beginning and then transitioning to content that you haven’t heard them say so I’ve used that quite a bit um and then. The other rabbit hole I did is for my first few podcasts I was so nervous about the beginning because it always feels so awkward those first 4 or 5 minutes and so I just listened to the beginning of like 100 podcasts and I realized all of them Joe Rogan berne brown dax shepherd they’re all awkward I mean except for obviously.

03:46.95
Craig
Um.

03:52.39
Elise
Highly produced ones but the ones that are just interview. They’re all terribly awkward in the first 5 4 or 5 minutes and that made me feel much more peace going into it I was just like embrace the awkwardness I even tell some of the guests. It’ll probably be awkward for like four or five minutes

04:07.91
Craig
Um, yeah, there’s definitely um I really not that I don’t want to say I’m always careful. How can we spin this positively I don’t like doing podcasts over the internet. This is not my idea of the right way to do this. So this is like strike 1 right out of the gate is oh let’s watch. You know.

04:09.87
Elise
Embrace it.

04:17.10
Elise
Per.

04:27.67
Craig
Pixelated versions of each other at 3 frames per second Well I think that we should you know we’re like ripping out all of the stuff that as human beings we are hard-wired for microexpressions. Oh That’s all gone in video at low frame Rate. We’re hardwired for. Timing and all these nuances So when you mention you know all the other conversations or not everyone I know I know what you mean a lot of them. They’re awkward when they start. It’s like yeah and we’re trying to do this. You know we who are trying to do these conversations and in addition to that we’re trying to do it through technology which makes it even harder. Um, so yeah, when I when I kind of realized like this is artificially difficult so it’s going to be difficult I think that’s a big ah a really good point that you make about? yeah um, in a way This sucks.

05:17.99
Elise
And on top of that I found my podcast is called how to disappoint your mom and it stemmed from the fact that I realized a lot of the turning points in my life I was thinking much more about what will they think about me and I and it left little room for what I was thinking about the decision myself.

05:31.00
Craig
Is.

05:37.90
Elise
And so I’ve talked to people about these big turning points they’ve had in their life where they’ve had to face some type of social rejection from their family or their friends and 2 of those people one was a divorce that happened recently and the other one was ah being beat by her mom in her childhood and being ah. Sexually assaulted by her father and so just the weight of kind of getting into that in the first ten minutes of the podcast is something that I don’t take lightly and has really been a learning curve for me to figure out how to approach those subjects in a way that people feel comfortable about. And a lot of that happens before you hit record I found is figuring out how to like you actually this was a masterclass from you just saying we can delete this nothing has to go out all of those sorts of things you see their shoulders kind of drop a little bit. Every time you say that.

06:33.48
Craig
Yeah, well I I mean I appreciate your compliment and but I think you’re really on to um, you’re really onto something with the point you make and my opinion is a lot of it comes from intention. Um, if not that I’ve ever not that I started doing podcasting with the wrong intention. But. When I began to actually go oh it turned out looking backwards that my default intention worked I happened to be a stupidly curious ridiculously passionate. Oh my god if you like if you don’t like talking to Craig. You’re not hooked up right? That may not be true for everybody but most people love it. Um. But I realized in hindsight that I hadn’t done that on purpose that just worked out that way and when I started to be more intentional about like the things that you’re describing like setting you know setting tone when I started to really dig into that I found that stuff is just as interesting to me as is the. Um, what the conversation accomplishes I’ve had conversations where guests work through things you know and we go to the dark place and at the very end and I’m like you know, not right? as soon as I had stop and I’m like are you okay with that. Do you want to listen to people because I’m not 100 % sure that the intention of let’s you know, proverbially us who do this. Let’s create a safe space. Let’s make the guest feel comfortable I’m not sure that that intention is necessarily going to give us something that should be heard by anybody else. It certainly should be the thing we’re doing. We should be coming from that intention but it’s interesting when when you start like it’s it’s kind of like the more you do it the better you get at it like you know and then then you’re like. Have to make sure we’re using these skills for good like you know, don’t go around manipulating people into saying things they didn’t want to say in the first place you’re definitely on to something there.

08:16.93
Elise
Yes I think ah my wife and I cohen and editing business and we work with authors before they send book to publication and it’s called. It’s called the Tampa Co um t I m b r e

08:27.79
Craig
Um, what’s it called.

08:36.24
Elise
http://danbraco.com and yes, yes, yeah I forgot about that. But I think I’ve just seen part of what I made me want to start the podcast was I’ve worked with all these authors who go through this process and some of them.

08:36.32
Craig
Because they warned you I wouldn’t let you get away with skipping the names. The thing.

08:52.98
Elise
You know, only 40 or 50 people read their book at the end of the process but it is still I call it a deathbed project because this is what this they talk about it in the same way. They’ll talk about their wedding or having kids or designing their designing like a dream home or living overseas.

09:06.99
Craig
Oh.

09:10.95
Elise
It is something they will remember the rest of their life that is such a fulfilling experience and we’ve actually had clients pass away from cancer who email us in their last three or four months remembering the process of writing the book and what it meant to them and I realize that the podcast is a. Lower resistance easier way for people to explore their life stories to take that deep dive without all that it takes to put out a book and that’s what I’ve really enjoyed about it is creating that experience but it only takes you know 2 hours for people instead of. The hundreds that a book takes.

09:52.60
Craig
I’m torn between saying so I’ll just say it I would say how far we can go without me actually asking you a question but what I’m what I’m fascinated about um I’m not I must say I’m not fascinated about writing a book people keep saying I should write I’m like no I really don’t want to do it because I think I understand. This is Goingnna take a while this is gonna require a bunch of work and I’m not a particularly fluent writer like I mean I can sit down and write a blog post but to write something longer or to carry a train of thought this is I’m like this is gonna be hard but I’m I’m interested in your thoughts on you mentioned that. You know say a 2 hour podcast or in this case, a half hour you know recording call. Um, is it lower barrier. It’s easier for people to engage with that like the the guest on the show or the person whose story is being told in the book or whose information is being conveyed and I think you’re right about because the time commitment is so much less. But I’m also wondering doesn’t it also scare them more like I’ve had guests who accomplished authors and when I try to get them on a call for a half hour I gonna press the big red button. They’re just like no well I don’t want it. You know because they feel like it’s because it is It’s so much more intimate like if you get a human. On a podcast as a guest versus a human who wrote a book. The book is much further from the person than the podcast is so I’m just wondering if you’ve also since you’ve clearly picked apart this idea about 1 being more approachable and I agree with you? Um, but how do we. Deal with the fact that yeah by podcasting is really intimate way more intimate than someone writing a book and handing it. You know to somebody else to read.

11:31.33
Elise
I think the advantage of podcasting is even if you self-publish a book typically it’ll still take a minimum of a year from the time that you start to write it to the time that it’s out there. So you’re not really getting that live take.

11:49.22
Craig
M.

11:49.75
Elise
You’re not getting quite what it felt like for them right in the experience and I just my third guest. She her divorce was finalized on a Tuesday and we had our podcast that Friday and the entire process happened in less than a year so a year ago she wasn’t even. She knew she was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a chronic liar but she really divorced wasn’t even on the table because she came from a conservative christian background where the only reason to divorce was ah infidelity or someone becoming an atheist.

12:13.80
Craig
Had no path forward right.

12:28.89
Elise
And we were really she was in such a raw place she was in a safe place like she was ready to share but it was still you you the advantage of the podcast I found was. Her she wrote a book in 3 years it would not be the same experience as listening to her on the podcast 72 hours after her divorce goes through and I was gonna say regarding you saying Ah whether or not you have to be a writer to write a book. Um.

12:48.36
Craig
Um, right.

13:04.36
Elise
Found if you’re writing about the right topic that is crunchy enough meaning it’s really relatable and no one else has written about it. You don’t have to be Hemingway to have a good book. Um, it just has to be a topic people really care about that has a. Hasn’t been touched on in that way before I’m not pitching you on a book because you really have to yeah.

13:24.56
Craig
That’s a that’s that’s a fair point. That’s that’s a fair point. My first thought was oh good I don’t be Hemingway because I don’t want to be an alcoholic but setting that aside, um, yeah, know that’s that’s a good point about the proximity. Um. You know there there can be opportunities where having the guest um, recording of the experience with the guest close to the thing that we’re talking about um that you couldn’t even do that in a book. Let alone I would be a really good writer and I know that I’ve read books where they it can come through in writing. Um. But yeah, that’s that’s also another good point that I hadn’t really considered about the the ability to do to do it quickly. Do it soon in time and I’m I’m off running a little mental tangent about I do this particular show. I don’t know if you recall or if you noticed when you go to schedule to be a guest on here. You can’t go more than seven days in the future and I actually get surprisingly I’m not asking for people listening to start I get surprisingly little pushback on that and. I do get people who go oh could you could we do this in may or like you know six weeks out or something and then I make a note and I circle back. But it first of all prevents people from swiss cheesing my calendar six weeks out but it also means that and this is what made me think of this when we were talking about that proximity idea. It also means that there’s very little time between when I say hey would you like to and you say hey I think so and then you click the button you’ll be in my schedule within a few days and I find that that that makes a difference because people come to the call and they. And I can’t say everybody I don’t know for sure but it seems like they feel that the call is a continuation of the conversation that we started in the guest you know in the outreach letter. Um, so when I dmed you inside the the platform where the course is happening. You know now I’m like ah connect to people before they disappear. And I was like hey would you like it through the thing and you’re like yeah I guess someone send you a link and you’re click and it’s like no no no I think I did that like on maybe on Monday or Sunday or something maybe Friday and and here we are on Wednesday so I think your point about the proximity um could also be useful to people who are out there trying to imagine how do I get guests and I think. Maybe trying to play into the yeah let’s let’s have a conversation or an interview that is a continuation of this discussion that I would like to start today I hadn’t really thought about I don’t want to say weaponizing but it like act action making that directly actionable. So that’s a good point that you make about the proximity.

16:02.00
Elise
Well yeah, sure I can I’ll say I found the getting guest part to be the most difficult part of the show for me because I’m looking for specific guests who have gone through some type of turning point.

16:02.13
Craig
Again, No question interview yourself right.

16:18.36
Craig
Um.

16:20.54
Elise
And experience social rejection and come through in a way that they’re proud of the decision or how they handle it or something so not a not a point that they were forced through and one thing I came to yesterday is I wanted to do weekly podcasts. Because it’s just like the way I wanted to do it and then I just yes and I realized that just having that idea was such a huge blocker toward putting my podcast out because then I have to have 4 or 5 podcasts ready to go just to have that lead time.

16:41.76
Craig
O Cd much.

16:49.50
Craig
Um, yes.

16:57.90
Craig
Yes.

16:59.50
Elise
And it was really blocking my momentum So I’ve started to ask myself. The question is having this parameter giving me more momentum or less momentum and I realized weekly podcast less momentum. Um and a variety of other things were less momentum. So I’ve started pairing back on some of the.

17:05.56
Craig
Um.

17:17.64
Craig
Um, what are things that you are leaning into that do give you momentum.

17:18.73
Elise
Frameworks I had around the podcast.

17:24.17
Elise
I think still keeping the long podcast format because my interviews have averaged an hour and 45 minutes or 2 hours and it takes a lot more time than somebody who’s doing an hour I mean it’s double the work for in in the post-production and. Harder to land guests. But I found a lot of that unwinding for the guest I mean there’s so much gold in the podcast that I’ve done after the hour 20 hour thirty mark I mean there’s so much there’s in the beginning too. It’s not like it takes that long to get there. But. I find the more they get comfortable. We get past the rote answers. You know you? it’s hard to have 2 hours of rote answers I haven’t I have had 1 politician that I’ve thought about asking on but I can’t quite do it yet. I just.

18:10.44
Craig
Unless you’re a politician. But yes.

18:21.14
Elise
There’s so much have you had politicians on any of your podcasts.

18:23.48
Craig
um um I don’t think so I actually tried to interview Amakka. This is a long story and I’m not gonna tell it but I tried to interview the mayor of a town that is a suburb of Paris so a fairly well-known actual real politician in the office. And it. It didn’t go well because first of all, it’s language barrier and they wanted all the questions upfront I’m like oh yeah, no, not that kind of interview. So I think that I know the right I needed a completely different set of skills to approach that kind of person so I was I was out of the gate on the wrong foot. Um, but no I never had any actual real politicians.

19:02.23
Elise
I’ve heard it can be disenchanting to.

19:06.37
Craig
Ah, um, yeah I could see that this same thing can happen though if I I’ve had guests where you know it took us a long time to get the energy to go or to click I call it the entry point like this is where the thing is actually going to start. When it goes out for my other projects on my other projects I do longform stuff and sometimes I think the record is I spent 20 minutes of tape I mean it, you know it’s all digital. But I think I spent 20 minutes of tape talking to somebody who I knew like I knew this person fairly well from you know, training together a whole nine yards and it was like took me 20 minutes until I finally found the right thread to pull on that that invited that person to to just like jump on it like whoa I’m in you know and they were for the whole part before they’re just kind of like this is interesting I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. Not sure where you’re going with this Craig. So yeah.

20:03.35
Elise
It’s interesting. You say that about it being someone that you know because in the podcasting workshop. They recommend you have people you know, really well at the beginning and then you transition to people that you maybe don’t know is less I’ve found it to be the opposite which is. Found it much easier to interview someone I barely know much harder to interview someone I know really really well because the person. Yes, so I don’t I don’t know that I would recommend people start that way and I haven’t had my wife on yet. Even though I want to talk through our coming out experience six years ago

20:25.60
Craig
That’s deep wisdom.

20:38.33
Elise
I know that I can’t quite see it yet from where I can figure out what the listener needs to hear and even having 1 guest on that I knew intimately well talk 2 or 3 times a week very hard to see to not think about what they are feeling. Whereas the guest that I don’t know I’m just thinking about the listener and making them feel safe but not really knowing it doesn’t have all those roadblocks.

21:11.58
Craig
I’m watching our time take away I have a chapter in my book that I haven’t written about why interviewing people you know, really well is exceedingly difficult but we’ll leave it at that for today. Maybe you know what we’ll do another episode. You can you can be the first repeat guest um schedule in for Thursday or friday.

21:11.74
Elise
Hey.

21:20.32
Elise
Whoop and and.

21:28.74
Craig
Um, I’m not kidding and we should really talk about that about what it is about people that know really well versus don’t well I have lots to say about that I’m not saying I have all the answers but we could talk about that for another 20 minutes but I think this is a good place to stop for this episode for today for our first chance first.

21:37.80
Elise
Well I’d like to pick your brain on it.

21:45.49
Craig
Opportunity to get chance to sit down and talk it was a distinct pleasure and thank you so much for taking the time.

21:49.57
Elise
Thank you Craig. It’s been great.