I’ve long believed that two is the perfect number of people in a podcast.
I often find things scattered about which make little connections appear in my mind. That’s literally what the word composition means when it’s used in the context of writing and literature; writing which composes something new from some number of other things already found. This little missive has been laying in the pile of such things for far too long… and so I’m putting up here to see where it leads us.
Way back in March of 2021 I listened to this podcast episode:
Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection with Marissa King from the Masters of Community podcast, March 22, 2021.
Around 46 minutes in David Spinks asks…
Marissa King: What she found is people consistently underestimated how much their partner was enjoying the conversation. So the short answer to this is you’re actually more likable than you think just the way you are.
David Spinks: That’s really interesting. What are the steps then? …for somebody to become a better conversationalist?
Marissa: Do they just have to become aware of that fact, and stop worrying about it so much? I think that’s part of it. And what I try to do throughout my book is actually to give people the tools of social science to allow them to apply this in their own life. […] So for instance, imagine you’re walking into a cocktail party. What we know, based on human interaction is when I walk in, I often will just see a wall of people. […] But we know that people actually don’t just form walls, that they tend to form small groups or clusters. The question becomes, which cluster do you go to? And people will have all sorts of different ways of choosing this. […] It turns out, that people are in these clusters, because of just the way that humans are built, that we have two eyes, and we have two ears, almost all conversation actually happens in dyads—groups of two. And because of this, if you look for an odd number group, whether it’s 1, 3, 5, 7… When you join that conversation, you’re giving someone else a conversational partner, and so you’re really creating balance. […] oftentimes if you apply this, or you imagine that you are one of these people who feel this aversion, or you feel like I don’t know how to do this, by applying these basic tools, it actually allows you to engage in these types of activities more comfortably.
(I did that transcription by hand and edited it all lightly for clarity.)
That show is all about communities. It’s intended for community builders, managers and moderators. A lot of its content is about health and wellness, as well as the more obvious topics of strategies and tactics for community building.
But this part of this episode really grabbed my attention from my “I record conversations with people” podcast creator point-of-view.
I’ve long believed that two is the perfect number of people in a podcast. Yes, there are exceptional instances of podcasts with the other numbers of people in them. But there’s magic in two.
PS: In the above, that small idea about “composition”… that came from some other reading which I unpacked in, Thank you Miss Merrill.