Podcasts, like much of life, don't always go as planned. Yes, preparation is important. The proverb, "failing to plan is planning to fail," is frequently true, but it is not always true.
You can schedule an interview with someone (where they select a time and confirm on your calendar), communicate all the expectations along with reminders on the date and time, send them a script with questions and a link to record, and then when you join the call . . . no one appears on the other side. Poof -- ghosted! 👻
What happens when your guest (or host) ghosts you? If you haven't experienced this yet, it just means you haven't been doing it long enough. Don't worry, you will have your chance in the future. 😁
These are some dos and don'ts which I find helpful when an interview doesn't occur.
Don't . . .
Don't assume they skipped it on purpose.
The person could have a valid reason for not showing up. They could have had a family emergency and they forgot about everything on their calendar. They could be sick and it slipped their mind because they have been vomiting all day. They might have noted it for a different day or time on their calendar. This can be a challenge when crossing time zones. Maybe they were in a car wreck? We can't always anticipate the issues, so we want to make sure not to jump to conclusions.
Don't be surprised if they skipped it on purpose
They might have said yes to make you feel good and then regretted it. They may not want to face it, so they skip it. They may have just changed their mind about doing it and not bothered to tell you--the old "just pretend it was never scheduled" routine. Either way, it is not a right or appropriate response on their part.
Another situation might be related to anxiety, which is very real. The idea of jumping on a podcast can sound wonderful initially, but when the time approaches, it can be fear inducing. Instead of cancelling, they may be so uncomfortable that they don't reach out. Again, not appropriate, but it can happen.
Don't react in anger with a nasty email, DM, or text.
You may want to lash out, but DON'T. Let me repeat--do not reach out to them in anger. You don't know their reason so don't read into it. Responding in anger will do nothing but cause problems for you, regardless of whether you are justified in your anger. Walk away, take a breath, and relax. If you must write something, write it on paper and afterwards tear it up and throw it away. Or type it and then delete the text. DO NOT write it in an email program because it is too easy to send on purpose or even accidentally. These events happen.
Now, let's move onto what you should do when ghosted.
Do . . .
Give them ten minutes (maybe up to 15 minutes) after the scheduled time to show up.
They could have gotten stuck on a call or on the road and are running behind. Maybe they had wifi or internet issues or had to restart their computer (the blue screen of death at an inopportune time). Maybe their child threw up? Or their dog threw up? Or their child threw up on their dog? Don't give up if the person doesn't show up on time.
Send them a short, upbeat email and/or DM to see if there was a miscommunication or an extenuating circumstance on their side.
If they are 10 minutes late, I will email or DM them to ask in a very non-confrontational way, if I had a mix-up in timing or if they had a conflict. I did this very thing recently with a no-show for an interview. They had picked the time and confirmed it, yet they did not appear. This is the email I sent to them minus their name and my signature.
I never heard back from them, which is just the way it goes sometimes. I handled my part appropriately--that's all I can control.
Plan ahead so that your content calendar is not dependent on this interview for next week (or this week).
The reality is your carefully crafted content calendar might fall apart on any given day. If you can get ahead on your recording schedule, a no-show won't affect you much because you can adjust with other episodes. If you are recording on a "just in time" schedule, you must be willing to adjust either with reposting a previous episode or creating a solo episode for the week.
As an aside, having a couple of solo episodes recorded and sitting on stand-by can be an effective way to prepare for this.
Whether they ghosted you on purpose or on accident doesn't matter. The reality is it happened. Now you must act professionally in your response and keep moving forward.
Have you ever been ghosted as the host or the guest?
Check out these other blogs from Podcast Prep:
💥DON'T MISS OUT!💥
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Till next time!
P.S. If you only want to the do the interview and don't want to mess with all of the headaches of creating a podcast for your startup (scripting, recruiting, production, etc), my white glove podcasting will take care of all of it so you can focus on your business. Reach out if you would like to know more of what is possible.
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Published on my LinkedIn newsletter on October 6, 2023 and published through the Podcast Prep newsletter on September 26, 2023.