Jordan Harbinger's Tips on Being a Better Host

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Jordan gives his tips on how to be a great host

This week's guest on the Ranker Podcast is Jordan Harbinger! As the host of the Art of Charm podcast, he has years of experience and plenty of advice for podcasters. The Art of Charm is also a school in Los Angeles where people from all around the world go to learn body language and non-verbal communication, persuasion, and negotiation. 

Jordan made a list on-air of how to be a good host, which could be helpful for more than even just a podcast. 

Photo: flickr / CC0

  • 3

    Edit Your Own Work

    You should do this for at least the first year. The problem when you split and don't edit your own material is you don't hear the flubs you make and you probably don't listen to your show afterwards. A lot of people don't do that and notice what they do wrong when they're on-air. I used to be that guy too, who never listened to his own podcasts. Now I do because I spent three to five years editing my own show. So I don't say, "Um," "Uh," or any of those ticks. They're gone.

    Now if I do it, it's strategically placed. I'll say "Wellll" or "Soooo" or a filler word that you're putting in for a purpose. Most times, people don't have a purpose for them and it comes across as this guy doesn't know what to say next. But if you pause instead, which most people are uncomfortable with on radio, it comes across as more dynamic and more intentional. 

    The only way to find those filler words is to edit your own work and/or to continue to listen to your own product.
  • 2

    Prep for Every Show Properly

    Most people will wing it. It's a terrible idea, but what I've found is that newbies will prep a lot because they need it to be good. Then maybe after the first year or so of doing shows, they're like, "I don't need to do this" because they're really good at it and can wing it. I used to do that too like nobody would know.

    I stopped prepping after the first and probably started again after year three. I did a bunch of shows and thought they were really mediocre. This was seven or eight years ago, so I'd like to cut myself a little slack there. Now I prepare way more and much better than I used to.

    What I've found, working at satellite radio for example, is that new people prep a lot and people that think they're pros, but are really just hacks, they don't prep at all, thinking that they can wing it because they're great. 

    The people who prep the most are Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, when they were still doing it. Those guys will prep a ton, and the guys who don't prep, you can tell. You'll walk in and they'll be like, "So tell us about what you do."

    You can also tell when someone has never looked at anything too, like when they repeat the first line of your homepage.
  • 1

    You Need to Listen Really Well

    Most people can't and won't do this. A lot of hosts that I've seen and been interviewed by, I've been interviewed 100 or 200 times over the course of nine and a half years, they won't listen to what you say and continue that as a conversational thread. They'll just go down their list of questions, so you'll say something and then the answer will be like, "What's your favorite book?"

    People who are famous on Twitter or Instagram don't get that. They won't listen very well and the other thing that they'll do that bad listening does is cut someone off in the middle of a thought. They're waiting for a pause to get in there and not listening to what I'm saying and aren't engaged. They aren't waiting for that conversational thread.

    That's a real hosting skill. Most people can't see that stuff, so they stay crappy hosts.