Dr. Yishai Barkhordari, a consultant to entrepreneurs and leaders, a licensed psychologist, and the host of The Business Couch with Dr. Yishai, joins Tracy Hazzard to talk about how he analyzes his podcast’s success and adapts to create more impact. He leverages his background in psychology to understand his guests more and dig deeper into the human side of the business. Through creating and building relationships with his guests, he is able to delve into their minds and share their stories of failure and success that help inspires his listeners. Learn more about how he structured his show and his three components that hold it together to create a continuous flow in this conversation.
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How This Dr. Analyzes Podcast Success And Adapts To Impact More From The Business Couch With Dr. Yishai Barkhordari
I have an interesting structural show to bring to you. It comes to us from a doctor. He is a psychologist, business adaptability coach, adaptability hacker. He’s the host of The Business Couch with Dr. Yishai. Yishai Barkhordari is a consultant to entrepreneurs, leaders, and their businesses. His background, experience, and expertise in psychology have provided him with a rare window into the human side of business. As Chief Adaptability Officer, executive coach, and speaker, Dr. Yishai leverages his deep psychological training and experience to help entrepreneurs and business leaders to transform challenges and exhaustion into energy, excitement, and excellence for themselves and their businesses.
He applies his passion for what he calls adaptability-hacking to understand and harness the psychology and unique way that humans adapt to survive and thrive to create simple, applicable tools to increase your ability to adapt in virtually any situation. What if you could effortlessly sense what is incoming and adapt rapidly? Doesn’t that sound like what we need in our podcasts? We need to be able to adapt rapidly. That’s why I’m so excited to have him now. Dr. Yishai has an interesting structure to a show. It’s comprised of three components, three days a week that he does a show and they flow through and relate to each other. I wanted to bring that to you because so often, we get the same structure again and again, and this one is very different in the way that it flows.
He is also a podcast listener. He has taken that to heart as he has created that show in the environment that he wanted to create, so that he could have the effect that he wanted and the impact that he wanted overall. In terms of bringing this adaptability hacking in this idea into the mainstream, our brains, our thought processes, so we are looking at what we might be able to do with that. Dr. Yishai might be our guide for that. Let’s learn to how The Business Couch got developed and how it came to be.
Dr. Yishai, thank you for joining me. Who’s couch now? It’s the big question. I’m happy to have you on my couch because we will get into the psychoanalysis of your show but first, tell me what made you want to start a podcast.
There are a couple of important big things. For me, one of them is being able to reach more people and I like to talk about. By day, I’m a licensed psychologist and for me, the podcast is a little bit different and separate from the psychology practice stuff. I know we are talking about psychoanalyzing. We are not going to do actual psychoanalyzing. That is one of my disclaimers. It’s on the podcast. I want to say that here that anything I say is not in the context of me being you are a psychologist, either you Tracy or the audience. It’s important to be aware of that.
At the same time, one of the things that I found that was so important to me was that in so many of the sessions, the patients that I have, that I do work with, they talk about work. They talk about the issues they have at work with leadership in so many different ways. What often comes out is that they struggle to have their voice heard and they struggle to get the leadership to pay attention to them. Some of what I have done with my patients is help them to do what I call managing upwards, which is to help them learn how to communicate in a way that gets their needs addressed and also is great for the company. It’s great for the business. It’s good for the leader that they are working under.
I did this a bunch of times and then I said to myself, “I can do this with thousands of people and that will take a lifetime to do.” The impact is going to trickle upwards slowly or I could start at the top. What happens when I start at the top? The impact can trickle down across the entire organization. I said, “What if I cannot just move upwards,” which is also from the therapy perspective. I don’t want to make that my mission. It’s about what the patient needs. I don’t want to do that, but I can have my own mission and approach and address that mission, which is to help everybody who’s an entrepreneur or a leader learn how to be more adaptive, how to be able to make more win-wins for themselves, their company, but also for all the people who are in it. There is absolutely a way to do that. That’s what I’m so passionate about and I figured this is the way to do it.
It is an interesting choice for someone who’s dealing with people individually, to then go and have a show on business. Yours is called The Business Couch. You decided that work relationship was important to address at first. When you were thinking about your show, did you listen to lots of other shows, do some research, and think about what you wanted it to look?
First of all, I’m an avid podcast listener. I had about an hour-long commute each way. I would listen to 5, 6, or 7 podcasts. Because I like to joke that it’s because I’m a psychologist, I trained my brain to listen on two times speed. I listened to everything twice as quickly. I was listening to about four hours of podcasts during my commute times every day, back and forth. Obviously, since COVID commute times have gone down, podcast listening has gone down a bit, but I also have carved out time intentionally. I take 30 to 40 minutes to listen.
There are so many shows that I had listened to on entrepreneurship, leadership, and podcasting. I’m also personally very interested in what happens at work. I’m interested in the human element of it. I’m also deeply interested in entrepreneurship and leadership. I started and launched my own company, which has also connected in some ways with podcasts. A lot of that is about creating that impact. I listened to tons of shows and what is interesting is I ended up networking with a bunch of entrepreneurs who also have podcasts, who were telling me about the podcasting they were doing and being in that group made it so much more accessible to me.
You decided to dive right in and do this. What hiccups happened to you along the way? You know there were some.
I had a lot of hiccups. At the very beginning, I said, “I’m going to do a podcast.” The question was, what are you going to do? That was one question that you asked me. I am an over-engineer. When I was kid, if you asked me what I wanted to do, I would say, “I want to be an inventor.” I was constantly coming up with ideas of things to invent. When I thought about creating a podcast, I was like, “I don’t want it to be too narrow and I don’t want it to be too broad.” I want it to be able to fit. At the time, it’s not like I had figured out everything that I wanted to do with the company that I started, the business that I’m running, separate from being a psychologist.Growing an audience is a long-term play, not a short one. It’s important to grow the audience that serves the purpose of the podcast. Click To Tweet
I didn’t have all of that figured out. I had some vague ideas and I was navigating myself along the way, but that to me became a challenging process. One of the wonderful entrepreneurs, Mary-Theresa Tringale, she said to me, “You need to set a deadline. You need to make a plan. If you don’t do that, you are never getting launched.” She pushed me, which I deeply appreciate her for. She said, “When are you going to get it done? What do you need to do? Tell me next week when we talk.” I started freaking out. I’m like, “Fine,” then I spent probably about 20 hours engineering my podcast and I did over-engineer it.
You have a complex show and I want to touch on that because you have a show that is in three parts. You do two interviews and a topic-based show that is based on what you heard or wanted to explore further from the interview. It’s an interesting structure. You have a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday structure. Tell me about why you decided on that.
There are a couple of considerations. One is that at the time that I was thinking about starting my podcast, there were so many podcasts that were coming out Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I said to myself, I could try to compete with them because for me, as someone who is an avid podcast listener, I would open up my app and I would see the top 3, 4, 5 things. I will go down that list. I said to myself if I come out on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then I’m competing with people who are coming out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, which are the ones that I would listen to before my own show, which is saying something in some way, shape, or form, at least the beginning. I said, “Let me do Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.”
I said, “Let me create some kind of a theme.” That to me was part of the process of engineering. I called it Insight Sunday. Insight Sunday is the interview where I get the story of the entrepreneur or the leader. We together dig in and get more insights and make connections between what is it that they are passionate about? What brought them to where they are? How did they get into that? How is it their brain works that allowed them to do that? I figured, “If we can have a great conversation like that?” I will be honest I draw a little bit on some of the clinical training I have, even though obviously it’s the interviewing, it’s the listening, but I’m not doing therapy. I make that line, that boundary clear, but I don’t go there.
I got taught and trained how to listen, have empathy, be able to formulate/reformulate, share that, then also how to ask questions that are follow-up and more insight oriented. That was my Insight Sunday. There’s story Tuesday. One of the things about entrepreneurship and leadership is that we learn from mistakes, but who wants to talk about all the mistakes and failures they had? Many people struggle with that. It’s not an easy thing to do. I also thought to myself, “If the first question to them is ‘Nice to meet you.’ Tell me about some massive failure you had?”
Forget about it. If it’s something that we can immediately, at least first have conversation, we get more insight. I listened to them. I try to understand them. I also try to get them to understand parts of themselves that are meaningful, interesting, useful, how they think, solve problems, approach things? They are gaining a lot out of that experience. When I say, can we talk about lessons you have learned if you are more open to it. That became my Story Tuesday. I called it Story Tuesday. I talk about learning from hard-learned wisdom, challenges. Some people use the words, mistake and failure. If I start or lead with that, it sounds very different than saying, “We all have learning experiences. Do you mind sharing some of your most impactful ones?”
Very often you find that story that you want to talk about somewhere during the interview that you are doing it. What I like about that and you are an expert in how the brain works, open looping. You are open looping that, whether you are doing it purposefully or you accidentally said, “That’s the story I want to tell later or that’s the story we want to hear more of later.” You are open looping us so that we have to tune in to the second episode.
One thing that happens is as we are talking about their thought process and how they deal with challenges, challenges come up. In my brain, I’m like, “Wait, that’s for Story Tuesday.” In my brain, I’m like, “We are going to have to wait until then.” I also have to wait for us to get to that. I’m putting a pin in it for me, for the audience and for them as well. I focus a lot on the guest because if our conversation can be engaging for me and for the guests, then it’s going to be engaging for the audience, for you reading. It’s going to be so much more meaningful than if I’m so focused on something else or I’m missing what is happening.
If I can pull them in and say, “You are gaining a lot of insights. Let’s put a pin in this and get some more insights in it on Tuesday,” then they are looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it. The audience is looking is forward to it. Again, some of that comes back to, I know I was sharing with you, that it’s so much more meaningful to create win, win, win. You can create the win-win win. I talked about it, win for me, win for the audience and win for the guest. It’s just being intentional.
How do you decide what that topic is going to be when you go to Thursday?
Coming back to the question you are asking earlier about struggles. There are two major struggles I had. One is at some point, I almost ran out of interviews. I ran out of people to interview and then I started freaking out and reaching out. There was like a mad dash and now I’m overbooked. I can’t even take any more for two months. Thankfully, that’s very much the case because my wife and I are expecting. By the time that happens, I’m going to need to carve out time. I’m taking parental leave, so that’s all exciting.
One of the other challenges that I had was that, what am I going to do on my Thursday episodes like Thrive Thursday? I had started with a bunch of topics that I wanted, and then I ran out of those. At some point, I have outlined a bunch of books that I’m in the process of putting together and writing. I said, “What if I create an outline and then different episodes cover different topics from the book.” That was a lot of fun. That is a real passion of mine and I’m excited about it.
I like to double dip as much as possible. For me, that was part of it. Now what I started doing is I started asking my guests, what’s one question that you would want to have a psychologist and adaptability expert, an adaptability coach, an executive coach, or a consultant answer? They say that question on Story Tuesday, and then I tell them, “By the way, your question is going to get answered on Thrive Thursday.” Talk about open looping again, but it’s also a win-win-win. They get to ask a question to me. They get to have more from me and I get to have content material to put out. It’s relevant to the interview. All of this is now linked in a chain of the three episodes.
In addition to that, anybody in the audience who experienced some of those things, which people who are going to be listening to the end, oftentimes they are resonating with at least part of it. That’s also going to be relevant for them. That’s what I have been doing lately and I have been absolutely loving that. There was a time where I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” I was like scrambling. I’m like typing on LinkedIn and Instagram, “Who has questions?” I’m asking my entrepreneur friends, “Tell me a question you had, I would love to answer that.” I got invited to a bunch of other podcasts and I was like, “That’s a good topic. Maybe I will talk about the same topic on my own podcast,” and maybe cross-promote. There was a time that I was like, “I have no idea what I’m going to do.” For me being under that pressure pushed me to think about, “How can I create more win-win-wins?”
I want to jump into our five things because I want to ask you a few questions as a follow-up to that within those five things. You had a problem getting guests at one point. How did you resolve that? How are you able to get such great guests now?
There are a couple of things that are important. The experience that my guest has is incredibly important to me. I treasure that in a way that I put it almost above anything else. If my guest has a terrible experience, who are they going to tell to be a guest? If I ask them, can you recommend someone to me? Who are they going to put in front of me? Nobody that they want. Nobody they are happy with.
Lucky for you, you got recommended by one of your guests to my show. Obviously, it’s working for you.
Some people think about it as networking. I think about it as relationship building and caring. Again, creating win-win-wins. When I initially started, I reached out to all the people I knew. I ran out of those moderately quickly within a couple of months, then I started asking those people who do you know? If you go back, my earliest episodes are not my best episodes. I know that’s true of most or many podcasts. It’s not my best work. If I go back and listen to it, I am cringing. I listened to all my episodes. I love to because I’m trying to learn more. I’m trying to also think where were areas that I could have asked more questions or follow up or do better or be better.Word of mouth is the best marketing and the best kind of advertising. Click To Tweet
That, to me, is important. As I worked on cultivating that experience, I think about that from A to Z. The first time I get connected with someone, I’m thinking about how can I make this process as clear, easy, simple? I put all these systems in place. Some of those entrepreneur friends I told you about who shared with me that they had podcasts, they were like, “How did you do this? Can you help me? Can you share this?” I told you I over-engineered by podcast. I was not joking when I said that. I’m also going to say though that each of those people gave me so much advice, help. They were so generous with sharing things like everything from a Google form that they use, disclaimers that they had or didn’t have, to sample emails that they would send out either to ask for guests or to follow up with guests. I got all these templates. I got all this wonderful stuff that they were so meaningful. It’s super accelerated for me.
What could have been a process of trying something and then either asking and having no idea if it works or to continue to tweak it. I deeply appreciate it. I’m going to name drop a couple of other people because they are so important and meaningful to me. Eric Musick, who also is the host of The Subscription Box Show. He is so wonderful. He was so helpful for me in some of my acceleration process. Amber Fuhriman, who also is the host of More Than Corporate. She also was incredibly helpful.
They were both generous and are wonderful people who are a part of, for me, I would say network, but it’s not a network, they are relationships. They are people I care about. They care about me. It’s so meaningful. They helped me out so much with those things. As I worked out, some of my own kinks, I shared that with them. It’s a virtuous process of raising each other up. That’s going to come back to the win-win-win.
We got something going on here. You had a lot of wins going on. It’s a win-win-win for the audience as well. Creating great content is a great way to increase listeners. The second question that I usually ask everyone is about how you go about increasing listeners. Making great content is one thing, but what else do you do to attract a good audience?
I will let you know when I find out.
You are not alone. That is the typical answer here.
Part of it is a little bit of a joke in a sense but also, I’m working on that. It’s a big challenge. There is also a tremendous amount of competition and it’s challenging with the competition. I will share with you what I’m doing. This is my own approach and it has been. I mentioned to you how I treat my guests, how important it is for me to honor my guests and their time to treat them as if they are royalty. They are such important people and they are sharing. We are co-creating something meaningful. For me, I focus on sharing with them. I don’t think about it as converting them into listeners, but I do think about it as if they got something out of the podcast.
I like to, at the end of the podcast, say, “Can we chitchat a little bit? What else are you looking for? What could be helpful?” I’ll send them in a few episodes if it is relevant. I try really hard. I’m not going to shove anything down anybody’s throat. If they have questions or challenges, or they ask something or something comes up, I will say, “I actually did an episode on that. Do you want me to send you the link?” Sometimes they say yes and if they do, great, I will send them a link. Sometimes they say, “It’s fine. Let me go and I will go find it myself.” I say, “Great, whatever works for you.” For me, part of it is I think about it as a lot of it is more on the backend. Meaning if people have a meaningful experience being on my podcast, then they are going to tell other people about it.
They are more likely themselves to listen, especially those guests who are wonderful guests who like to prepare. The more I hear from them that they had a good experience preparing, listening and being on the podcast, the more I know that the work I’m doing is worth sharing. I think about it as growing an audience is a long-term play, not a short one. It’s important to grow the audience that serves the purpose of the podcast. It’s possible that I hire someone to do my social media and span it out or spend a lot of money on ads. There are a lot of different ways of getting in front of people. I think there’s a difference and it’s important to differentiate.
What I’ve been working on is differentiating between trying to grab more people’s attention versus when I have their attention for them to say to themselves and experience it as, “This was so cool. It was so meaningful. The podcast is binge-worthy.” They say word of mouth is the best marketing and the best kind of advertising. That’s the angle that I’m playing. How is that going to work? I don’t know. Ask me in two years, I will tell you.
It does have that feature of I could see that maybe some of your guests become your clients, that they become listeners. They are looking for more. They refer other people to you. I do think you are building that kind of model of podcast, which is more of a business referral style podcast. Sometimes I refer myself in there, but that’s how that works. Producing like a pro, that’s what I ask as my third question. In your case, because you have the structure of multiple pieces of your interview, I want our audience to understand how you are structuring that. Are you actually recording it two different times? Do you record all at once? What are you doing in that production process that is giving you the ability to carve it into multiple pieces?
I mentioned that I over-engineered my podcast. I don’t joke about that. I tried to make it simple. I’m a one-man team with the exception of I hired an editor to do editing because it was taking me 5 to 10 hours a week, on top of all the production. It was way too unreasonable, especially given that I work pretty much full-time.
You are about to have a baby. Believe me, I started my podcast with a baby, so I know.
The first thing I did was I structured my interviews to be an hour-long and I divided that into two segments. My segments are well-defined. Part of that was I create a document. I had an intro and I have a sponsor’s segment, and then I have some sample questions though, for me, it’s a lot more important to stick with the purpose of the podcast, the relationships that I’m building and the experience of the guest than it is to stick with the questions. I have a couch round and then I do a wrap-up where I summarize. I thank the guests. At the end of that, if it’s the Sunday, the first segment, I say, “I can’t wait to continue our conversation for Story Tuesday,” then I give it about a ten-second break.
Either I pause the recording or we just let it go. I will drink some water. I will take a break. Sometimes if we pause it, we will chat briefly for a minute or two, and then we jump into the second segment. In one hour, I get both interview pieces all at once. I did that with intention because I wanted to release three times a week. I did not want to record two hour-long interviews a week, especially for the content. It’s a little bit more long-form. I also wanted it to be as accessible as possible because hour-long interviews are way harder to listen to than something that is 25, 30, 35 minutes.
That’s because you are a listener that you know that. There are those out there and go, “An hour and hour and a half long podcast, I’m going to model Joe Rogan.” Joe Rogan’s podcast is set for advertisers, not for what’s best for the listener, keeping with that. Good choices on your part. Do you record your topic almost immediately or do you have them already prerecorded and you decide which one is going to be the right one? When do you do the topic?
I’m going to share with you some personal insight into me. I have long been a procrastinator and it never got in my way. With podcasting, that became pretty bad.
We discovered our procrastination points quickly, don’t we?Podcasting is a long play. It’s like starting a blog. It takes time. Click To Tweet
Yes, we do. With the interviews, especially when I was struggling to get them, and I was encountering some of my own challenges, reaching out to founders, to CEOs or CXOs, and to leadership, to entrepreneurs, and successful entrepreneurs, I encountered a lot of my own issues as well as with trying to get some of those things done. Now, I have had so many people who are interested in being on my podcast and who have been referring more people that I got ahead.
I’m now close to 3 to 4 months ahead. I have more podcasts interviews already booked. I’m booked all the way to August. I have enough content through the end of September. By the time August rolls around, I’m going to have even more. I’ve been telling people, please circle around in two months. That’s the time I can even think about considering it because by then, I’ll be two months ahead still, or a month to a month and a half ahead.
With the solo episodes, I mentioned to you, there was a time where I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” It was always this last minute, it’s Sunday or Monday, and I’m trying to put together this episode stuff for Thursday. There were times where I was like up until 7, 8, 9 PM and this is before I’d even maybe had dinner or spent any time with my wife. That was the time where I was like, “There’s something very wrong. This is not okay.” I need to make a shift or change in that. That’s part of what prompted me to start asking my guests for questions that’s helpful for them, the audience, and for me to have a topic.
It also helps hold you accountable. If they are expecting that, then they are going to do it. You helped create a push for you on the procrastination side.
I had an honest and frank conversation with my editor. I said, “Tell me about what the limits are. Tell me about when I need to get that in and if you tell me that as an earlier time, I will get it done. If you tell me, it’s a later time, FYI, you are probably consistently going to get it later.” I was thinking about how to try to get that sorted out. For me, I have been trying to either get it done on Sunday or Monday by the afternoon so that when I’m done with work on Monday, I’m done.
It’s in and it’s ready. That’s great.
It’s in production. It’s still a journey. I won’t pretend that it’s all sorted out now. It’s still a mess sometimes.
We are all making progress here every day. The next question I usually ask is about encouraging engagement. I’d love to look at it from the perspective of you sometimes go for months before the guest hears back from you again. They get the feedback of it. How are you encouraging engagement with your guests to make sure that they are sharing it, that they are re-engaged with you again at this point four months later?
One of the things I’ve been focusing on a little bit more lately, because I don’t need to worry as much about getting great guests, and that is something I feel at this point so relieved by. It takes a big load off for me. It takes a lot of time and energy off of my plate. I started thinking, “Let me dedicate more of that time and energy to cultivating that relationship. How can I try to create more touchpoints?” I’m going to raise my hand and say, “I don’t think I’m perfect at this and I can certainly use some guidance. If anyone has tips out there, feel free to comment or message me. I’m certainly open to hearing those tips and feedback and different thoughts that you might have.”
A few of the things that I do is I make sure to produce artwork for their episodes and I send the artwork with them. Another thing that I’m doing is now that I’m producing the solo episodes, I also can send them an indication, “The episode where I’m answering your question is coming up. Here it is.” Being able to send that along with them also continues to maintain that engagement. I am now thinking about, “I don’t want to have four months between now and when I next connect with them or interact with them.” One of the things that I can do is once I have it scheduled, I’m clear and I’m oddly enough, although I’m a procrastinator, I also tend to be organized.
Knowing when their episodes are coming out, if I can tell them a couple of months in advance and say, “Here’s what’s done. Here’s what’s in production. Here’s what you can expect.” By the way, maybe make a comment or two, do some research, think about the question because I love thinking about the questions. When I get off the interview, that my brain is ringing with the question of that person that I just interviewed, I’m really thinking about it. That’s probably an ideal time to actually record the episode.
That’s what I was going to say. I was like, “That would be the best time.”
I also like to research it. I like, in some ways, to model some of the way that I do my Thrive Thursday episodes off of things like Jim Collins and other researchers. I’d like to pull in research and think about the tips and tactics. For me, it’s a marinating process. It turns out better that way when I planned that out. The episodes for me that are better are the planned-out episodes where I’ve dug in and done some research, looked up different research studies, tips and tactics. There is a tension there. What I try to do is to maybe share a nugget or two between those four months to say, “I’m looking at your question. I have been thinking about your question. There are some things I think are cool. Here is an article that I’m probably going to be incorporating in some way and just so you know, I have 5 or 6 other things I’m looking forward to putting in there.” It’s almost like an appetizer because I don’t know if you’ve been to a restaurant and it’s taking them a while to bring your food, so they are like, “Here’s a free, little appetizer.”
Let me give you a taste of something.
I’m still trying to think about that. It’s important to create more touchpoints. One other thing that I have been trying to do is to let them know, “I enjoy the conversations and I still think about the conversations.” Many of the podcast conversations that I have, my brain is again just marinating. I’m thinking about it. How would I address that or what would I do differently? Do I have some thought? Being able to take that and turn that into, “This part of our conversation was interesting to me and I had this thought, and I would love to touch base or hang out if you have fifteen minutes at some point to touch base about this.” Try to think of ways to maintain that connection in the meantime and also afterward.
That’s so important overall, especially if they are such a gold mine in terms of future networking, future relationships, and the growth of your entire business as a whole. The last thing I ask is how you monetize your show and in the case here, you are not taking ads for anything but your own business. You are not monetizing in that way, but have you seen it turn into more business? Have you seen more clients because of doing your show?
I do have a sponsorship segment and I’m thinking about that also as market testing. I put things out there and again, I ask, how does that sound? What’s the feedback on that? I will ask my podcast guest. When I hear from audience members, I’ll ask them. One of the things I am aware of is that my model is a descension model. It’s a very premium product. For me, the life cycle of getting that is longer. I have seen a lot more interest. I’ve seen a lot more investment and it has started to yield some dividends. I have started to get invited to speak at various conferences and places. Some of that obviously is changing. I have certainly got a lot more digital opportunities to speak, not just from podcasts, but at conferences and whatnot. Some of that is starting to materialize and it’s not just coaching. It’s also speaking, which then is also more opportunities to generate warm leads for clients. As of yet, it’s been under development and it’s taking a longer time perhaps than I would hope.
If I can comment on that, you are just over 100 that have aired, obviously you have recorded a lot more, that’s not that long. This is about that tipping point where you’ll start to figure out what is working and what is not. It’s taking you this long to build authority and you have hit that metric of authority at this stage.Our brain is designed to help us identify when we need to generate new awareness, new analysis, and new action – that’s adaptability. Click To Tweet
Thank you. I appreciate that. It’s something I’m trying to gain perspective on. One of the conversations I had with somebody who did consulting for seventeen years, they said to me, “A business is like a plant. You can give it water, sunlight, and all the nutrients, but you can’t make it grow any faster than it’s going to grow. If you try to make it grow faster by putting more of those things, you can harm it.” I’ve been trying hard to have that patience. I’m finding myself at a tipping point, which is exciting for me. Something I heard and I don’t think it sank in at the very beginning was that podcasting is a long play. It’s like starting a blog. You are not going to within six months of creating a website and starting a blog, see everything explode. It’s not going to happen. If it does, it’s incredibly rare and there is something happening that is perhaps very different. It takes its time.
We finished our round. You have one you call couch rounds and you go through that and you ask questions of your guests. What do you do with those questions afterward? Do you have something, are you making social posts, or what are you doing with those questions? Are you researching something?
I intentionally chose those questions for market research for myself. As you mentioned, my ideal guest, audience member and client are all pretty much in alignment. To me, that’s part of the over-engineering the podcast. When I’m asking them questions like what content do you consume and how do you like to consume it, when I’m asking them how people can reach out to you and what outreach is welcome versus unwelcome. What I am doing is I’m learning how do I do this better, how do I reach those people, where are these people hanging out, what are they doing, what are they interested in?
For me, it’s a lot of market research. I have not done this yet, though I’m going to raise my hand and say, “Working full time and producing a podcast mostly on my own is taking up quite a bit of time.” I have had multiple times this thought process of what if I go and listen to these sections and make quick answers, code them and then collect them like data. Something else that I’m thinking about doing at some point, maybe for one of the other bigger episodes, maybe like not the 100th but the 200th episode or 150th episode, let’s do a compilation of fifteen entrepreneurs answer to this one question.
That is a great idea. People love compilation shows. It helps when I find your show and I’m new to it. When I have a compilation one, whether it’s you telling me what your interviews were in the last year, it gives me a place to start rather than start at your very beginning as you put it, some of us cringe at our very first episode no matter what. If we can give them another touchpoint that seems like a starting point, then they will take it.
Some of it is about figuring out how and when, and getting that to happen. For me, at this time, one other thing that I have been doing is noticing patterns that show up among the questions. One of the questions I like to ask is, “Does growth happen in quantum leaps or small increments?” I like noticing that so many entrepreneurs are saying it’s small increments and maybe the small increments turn into quantum leaps, or maybe you think it’s a quantum leap, but there’s a lot of small increments in it. Just being able to notice some of those things, it helps me then speak to these kinds of people when I want to address that. It becomes something I can talk about in a social media post or an article.
This is interesting because I wrote a column for Inc magazine for four years and any time I wrote about the brain, the articles blew up. They would have such tremendous search. You have got all these books behind you that have all different names about the brain. They have got pictures of the brain. You have got this going for you. Are you thinking about how the brain works when you are asking questions of your guests to draw them along? Is there some of your inherent psychoanalysis training that is going into how you ask your questions?
I’m going to differentiate two things. There is my clinical brain, which is like diagnosing and thinking about the therapy side of things. I’m going to tell you bluntly and upfront that brain only belongs at work. It’s important to cordon that off. To me, that’s important for boundary purposes. If I didn’t put that brain only at work, then I would be doing things that are unethical, potentially illegal and certainly potentially damaging. For me, I turn my clinical brain off. I’ll tell you that the brain that stays on. It’s the insight brain, like you said, the brain that thinks about our brains. I talk a lot about is adaptability and all of the things that we are talking about on the podcast, and this is something I didn’t realize at the beginning to come back to one of those questions of some of the hiccups along the way, I wanted it to be broad enough but narrow enough.
One of the things I’m zeroing in on is the area that I’m talking about is adaptability, which is our brain is designed to help us identify when we need to generate new awareness, new analysis and new action. It’s designed to do that. The entire podcast answers this question for entrepreneurs and leaders. How do you tap into the part of your brain that is designed to help you adapt? That’s in your thought process and your development. It’s in what parts of you and your thinking have allowed you to succeed. It’s in the mistakes and how you address them. It’s in the failures and all of these things. My brain is constantly thinking about that.
It’s not that my brain doesn’t think about that in the clinical work or that I can’t draw pieces of that. It’s that my clinical brain is the therapist diagnosing brain that is a healthcare provider and does not belong at the podcast. The part of me that belongs to the podcast is the part of me that’s always been incredibly curious, has always struggled with adaptability, or did from the time I was a young kid. Finally, I felt like I unlocked something that I was like, “The world needs to figure this out. We all need to share this with the world and how can we do that?”
Are you thinking about adapting your show now that you have hit 100 episodes? What’s next? Are you thinking about making those adjustments and adapting yourself?
I have been thinking about it a lot and timing and how I’m going to do that when a little one is coming.
I’m going to say from a mother of three, not all at once of course, but simplification might be your next adaptation out of necessity.
One thing I thought a lot about and I’ve received a little bit of feedback on it is that my intro can be a little bit long. I’m thinking about how to adapt that to make it shorter, sweeter, more to the point and more specific, but also drawing people. It’s working on my podcast, not in my podcast. Now, I’m doing a lot of work in my podcast. I talk about this. One of the questions that’s the couch round question is, what’s more important, working in your business or on your business? You can answer that in your podcast or on your podcast. I appreciate you prompting me for that. It is something I have thought about. I have been getting a few different pieces of feedback, and carving out time to work on my podcast is important to me. I have had a few things marinating and it’s about when am I going to be able to or choose to carve that time, make that happen, and then kick that off.
It’s interesting that you said working on or in. I’m a fan of doing both. I think that’s what’s serving you well. I’m going to head into your binge factor by saying that. When we work on our podcast and in our podcast, it helps us discover what’s working when we are doing both. What’s serving the listener and because you are a listener as well, you have tapped into that. From my perspective on and having listened to hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands of shows at this point, there is a distinct unlocking to use that term that you used, unlocking of a process of thinking that you’re guiding your listener through your shows and through all three of those shows in a row. That is helping me take that deeper dive, which we don’t get enough from podcasts now.
It may have been what you felt was missing from the shows that you were curious and you wanted more and you didn’t get it, but you have built that into your show. You have also done it with this great open looping and other tactics that are serving you well in flowing us through all three of those episodes, to getting more from you and getting that deeper dive into the person, the topic, the story, the adaptation that we might be learning about what we can do in our own lives, that’s happening there in your show. That’s the thing you don’t want to mess with. That’s your binge factor.
Thank you. I appreciate that. That’s interesting. My brain is going to be picking that over for a while.
I’m sure it will. When we are thinking about pivoting and adapting, this is a time we want to not mess with that core thing and sometimes we do. We don’t realize it because we pick apart little pieces that we want to take off because we are thinking only tactically. When we are in our business and in our podcast and on our podcasts, and we are looking at it from both perspectives, and when you go back and relisten, which I know you do, you listen to your episodes, which is not a lot of podcasters do and I’m just going to be frank with you that they don’t do it. It’s one of the first things they give up when they are busy. Doing that is still keeping you in that listener mode. Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve?Adaptability is in your thought process and development; what parts of you and your thinking have you allowed to succeed. Click To Tweet
It’s something that also is a great reminder. I appreciate that you said it’s one of the first things that goes out the window when someone gets busy is they stop listening to their podcast. That’s part of working on my podcast. If I didn’t listen to myself, I wouldn’t be able to differentiate the questions that I’m asking from the ones that I wished I would have asked. I won’t get better at doing that the next time or being more intentional the next time. There’s another part of it, especially when I was getting started, and I know I’m 100 episodes in, but it’s three a week. We are talking about a little bit over half a year now. Whereas some that do once a week, it takes them two years to get the 100 episodes. I’m still a bit earlier and it’s easy for me to say, “I don’t know how to podcast or I don’t know what I am or how I do as a podcaster.”
Listening to my episodes, every time my brain says, “You did so well with that. That was a great question to ask. I’m so glad that you did this research so that you can make this point on your Thrive Thursday episode about this particular topic because it helped out. I’m so glad that you told this story.” Oftentimes, it’s like, “That’s a great story. You could have probably done it a little bit different, maybe pulled out a piece of it, draw a little more anticipation,” but it also helps me update my brain and feel better, more confident as a podcaster. I’m not the same podcaster that I was back in August when I was releasing.
That’s the case as I mentioned to you because we put off our interview. I couldn’t listen to enough of your episodes because you have this three-format that I wanted to make sure that I got enough in, but I barely skimmed your first ones. Normally I do. I go to the beginning and then I go to the end, but I went straight to the end because I could hear its distinct difference in growth. I realized that’s probably more of the case that I was going to be better served if I listened to more of your more recent episodes than I did from the earlier ones. Showing that growth in a short period of time because you are doing three episodes a week is doing you a credit. The audience cares about that. They say this person’s growing. They care about their show. They are changing it. I’m going to keep tuning in because I’m going to go along the ride with them.
Thank you. To the point that you were saying, I credit listening to my episodes for that. It’s hard to listen and cringe. That’s also how you improve. You need to get that feedback.
You ask questions in a unique way. I want to mention that before I asked you to give some advice to other podcasters out there. You ask questions in a way where you have a long setup to the question and then you have a long period of time where you don’t interrupt. You might ask for a follow-up or whatever, but then you do a longer setup again. It’s almost like at the very beginning of your episodes, sometimes you are like, “We are going to talk about this, this and this. Go.” That’s an unusual tactic. I haven’t seen that done very often. What made you decide that was maybe your style of it? Because I’m sure you ask much more pointed questions in your clinical life.
The goal of the podcast is to allow the guests to explore and share their insights. My long-form questions are usually there is one part that’s recapping or encapsulating what they said in a short, concise way. I’m abstracting from their experience and drawing out a generalization or an insight. I’m labeling or naming that. That’s like part one. Part two is I will usually add in some piece of research or a thought process, then I’m adding a piece of myself, my thinking or feedback. I slip it in. I add that to what I have encapsulated that they’ve shared, and then usually the question follows by saying, “Can we dig in a little more?”
I developed that process. It wasn’t something I did at the beginning. I will be direct with you, it wasn’t a conscious like, “I should do these three things and these three steps.” I’m now on reflection thinking about that. One thing that I did notice is that when I listen to the guests and I encapsulate what they are talking about, and I give that back to them, that they start to gain more insights and they want to say more.
I can see that. I can hear that happening with your guests. It’s almost a gentle guiding too. You are not pushing them or switching gears and asking a different question, which is guiding them back onto the adaptability topic or you are guiding them back into where you feel you could serve your audience best.
Where I think that they would also gain something because they can talk all day long about things. Is that going to help them? I have had some guests who come on and they are spouting. What they are sharing can be valuable for the guests. I have had a few of my guests say, “Give me a challenging question. Give me something more. I can spout this stuff all day.” This is like the way my brain is constantly thinking. Don’t just let me be a water fountain for you. That is where for me I think it was important to add in that bit where I’m sharing my own insight or a piece of research, or I’m connecting it to something, and then I’m asking them to consider that and dig a little deeper into their own insight. Let’s do some of this work. Let’s talk about and shift some of your way of thinking and not about trying to coach you. It’s like, “Take this. Add one or two other ingredients and see what happens.” Let’s cook together. This is not me sitting around watching you throw all the ingredients you already have in the pot. I’m not watching you make wacky Mac or something.
You are not giving them a platform to speak. You are creating that relationship that you were talking about before to have a conversation, to explore something together, and explore it on behalf of the audience to learn something as well. I do think that is serving you well in your show and it obviously hasn’t changed over time how you do it. It’s purposeful. You should keep doing that. It’s definitely a distinct difference. All of you reading out there, I always say that there’s at least one thing, if not many more, that I could highlight about a show, Dr. Yishai’s show.
The one thing is listening to the way that he asks these questions or sets up his conversations is an interesting skill to think about. Can I adapt this? Could I use something like this? Can I model something similar, so that I’m not asking questions that seem basic or pat, and others that are way too long where I’m like talking about myself and then there isn’t a question there at the end? Let’s re-guide that into something. This is definitely something to listen to. Somebody pushed you. There have been a few people you’ve mentioned that pushed you into podcasting and really pushed you to do better and make it happen. What do you have to say to those out there that are like, “Maybe I think I want us to do this podcast thing?” What’s your advice out there?
Seek people who are going to allow you to have those conversations, maybe the long-form. Let them give you some input and ask them to give you space to process or make sense of what is it that you want. Be intentional. I don’t necessarily think that everybody needs to have a podcast and I don’t think that every podcast is going to be the best podcast or even the best podcast that can be. There are a lot of reasons by the way to have a podcast. Not all podcasting needs to be about the listeners or the number of listeners. For me, it’s about the quality of the experience for my guests and for my listeners.
I’ll be very frank. I don’t care if I ever have a million people who listened to me a month. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is the people who do listen and gain something out of it. I know that I am and I know that my guests are. To me, if I never got more listeners other than the people who are gaining a lot out of it, and I hope my guests are among them and I hope that people who hear from them about it are among them, but if my guests don’t grow or grow as fast as I want, I’m still serving my purpose.
I would invite you guys out there if you’re thinking about it and wondering, ask yourself what your purpose is. Are you doing it as a hobby? You can do it as a hobby. Just be clear about that. Are you doing it because you want to get out of a space? Are you doing it because you have a passion or interest? Are you doing it because you want to start a business? Are you doing it because you want to connect with certain kinds of people? Are you doing it because you want to have lots of listeners? Be intentional about that and when you get clear on that, that’s when, from my perspective, your adaptive brain is going to be like, “You know what you want. Now it’s time to go get.”
It can be helpful for people to push you in that. I think that’s part of what my group of friends who are entrepreneurs really helped me do. They were like, “What do you want? What are you trying to get at? What’s going to work for you? What won’t work for you? Here is what we are getting out of podcasting. Do you think that would work?” The point at which I was like, “I think this would be helpful, but I don’t know what I’m doing.” It was the point at which they were like, “Okay.” I was like, “My brain is telling me the same thing, so I guess I should listen to my brain than other people around me.” That’s what I would say.
Dr. Yishai, thank you so much for joining me and giving us insights into The Business Couch, how you operate your show and why it’s doing so well.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. This has been a blast.
Wasn’t that interesting to get deep insights in the thought process of how to engineer a show, how to structure the show, how to follow through with it and make sure that it keeps going? Dr. Yishai definitely has this deep respect and understanding for the podcast as a medium for creating a voice and a message that goes out there. He’s really looking at how he can adjust that message and market it differently, shifted and adapt as he’s moving forward. I look forward to seeing how his show moves into the future. Over the six months that he has been doing this and about 100 episodes that he has been doing this, I can see a very clear progression from the beginning to where it’s settled and to where he feels more in control of the interviews and of the way he asks questions as we discussed in the show.
It’s a concerted process for doing that. The progression of how those Thrive Thursday episodes with his topics are not only addressing questions that his guests are asking them, but helping us universally process what we heard earlier and the other two episodes. It’s helping us process that through like he may have done as he molds things over, and he’s thought what his guest was saying, asking for, and how he could give us more through that process.
Putting this kind of effort is not wasted. This is one of the things that I want to get across to you. It’s that sometimes we put a lot of work into our show. I’m a big fan of, “I don’t want to edit.” I don’t want to put busy work into the things that aren’t having an impact at the end of the day to you. I want to spend my time as the host of the show, doing the things that are serving you the best. Dr. Yishai has definitely done that in his show. He’s creating The Business Couch with this idea that we can sit there and we can be a part of that couch. We’re an active participant in it and how our brain is processing and working through what we are hearing and how we might apply that to our own businesses and our own lives. He is working hard to make sure that part is in place for us. That is effort that is not wasted and is very useful in creating a truly bingeable show at the end of the day.
Congratulations, Dr. Yishai Barkhordari on The Business Couch, which is a fabulous show. Be sure to check it out. It’s Sunday, Tuesday, Thursdays, off days. You might be able to get some insights into how to run your show, but also get some great insights and how you might want to adapt your lives and your business, and become truly an adaptability hacker for your podcast and your business as well.
Thanks everyone for reading. I’m so glad to bring you such unusual and different types of shows each time I am here on The Binge Factor because it helps me grow and it helps me learn. I truly appreciate when you reach out and tell me about a great show that I should hear and a great guest that I should have on my show. It’s okay, volunteer yourself. There’s no harm in doing that. I would love to hear what you’re working on and what you’re doing. You can do that by going to TheBingeFactor.com and do the apply as a guest section. I’ll be back next time with another episode.
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