Kuuki yomenai is wonderful Japanese phrase which loosely translates to “cannot read the atmosphere”.*
In a social or business context, it’s often attributed to Westerners who are unable to decipher cues from the people they’re talking to.
Mistaking silence for encouragement, shouty know-it-alls spray endless trivia to those who are not in the least interested.
The same could be said of many podcasts.
Let’s face it, no one’s particularly interested in your brand or in your story. No one stands around the water cooler discussing the widgets your company makes; but they might discuss an amazing story around which your brand identifies.
For companies who get it, though, podcasting can be an oh-so-powerful medium.
Every episode offers dating tips and advice, like whether wearing glasses helps attract the opposite sex.
Goldman Sachs’ podcast Exchanges is an interview-style podcast where the firm’s people discuss weightier subjects around the global economy. Aimed at the C-Suite at multinationals and smaller business owners, it offers a personality to what many might consider a faceless, tyrannical bank.
The Distance is a podcast for web application development company, Basecamp. This successful podcast explores the secrets to longevity in business, drawing inspiration from those who have run businesses for 25+ years.
None of these podcasts focuses on the companies themselves, their products or services. The conversations are built around other topics, stories which their target audiences would find interesting; like that charismatic person at a dinner party you’ve just met who asks you questions and talks with you about your interests.
Don’t be that KY podcast — the one who talks too much about his or her stuff. Or the interviewer who talks more than — or over — the guest. If the story is intriguing or engaging, simply being a part of it will deliver you kudos.
*kuuki means air or atmosphere; yomenai is cannot read. Often abbreviated to KY.