Audible Shows

Audible has launched the long awaited “Audible Shows”, with a pleasingly small raft of programmes for you to try out – but what first?

“Audible Shows” is Audible’s move in to the podcasting arena, and it has finally launched in the UK. The audio book behemouth, now offers short form audio programmes in various formats and on varied topics. They have commissioned new original shows, as well as provide a platform for some others. And in a podcasting space where the choice is overwhelming, Audible will provide some curation for their audio loving audience, to discover new and relevant audio.

In early 2017, I was lucky enough to be part of the focus group for what was then named “Audible Channels” in it’s beta state. The interface I saw then, compared to the interface I loaded on to my Audible app now, is massively improved. “Audible Channels” was overwhelming – but the content largely was good. “Audible Shows”, has started small (pleasingly so), and you are able to download the shows to your device as part of your Audible library. Even so – there are choices to be made and you will likely be drawn to the big hitters: Joe (Wicks) and Mo (Farah), David Mitchell and Danny Wallace are all there.

So here are my heads up on an alternative top 3:

What Goes On Here with Sam Walker

Sam Walker (BBC Radio 5 Live) has had this long in the waiting. The first season of her podcast “What Goes On Here” is on Apple Podcasts, but when you find her show on Audible Shows there are 4 seasons’ worth. Walker interviews people who have experienced  adversity and how they have overcome it for the better. Adversity for her interviewees has come in its wildest forms: drug addiction, incarceration, failing to perform at the Olympics, losing a child are just examples. The key to this series is to hear how each person learned, changed and grew from that moment in their life. It’s heart warming, inspirational and heart breaking all at once.

Sam is a fantastic interviewer, well researched, warm and will ask that question on the tip of your tongue. Well worth a listen.

Sue Perkins presents Zoopedia

Sue Perkins presents shortform (like, 11 minutes shortform) pieces revealing the weird and wonderful things about weird and wonderful animals. This one was a hit with my kids (although you might want to listen first before you play to yours – there is some saucy language/references from time to time).

Sue’s witty narration about the animal in question, be it a Duck Billed Platypus or a Pink Fairy Armadillo, is interspersed with comedy sketches that bring the whole thing to life. Perkins is excellent. The sketches are funny. And you’ll walk away with a knowledge of animals you did not expect. If nothing else it gives me real pleasure to listen to something with my kids, to hear them laughing in the back of the car, and asking for the “Bee one” again and again and again.

Six Degrees of Assasination 

One thing I really love about Audible Shows is the audio dramas that are available. I was a big fan of the We’re Alive podcast (now finished) but since then have found it hard to commit to another audio drama – and to know where to find them! Audible Shows will set a bar on quality and for this reason it was easier to commit to Six Degrees.

The whole thing begins with the Prime Minister getting shot at a public engagement and then you follow 2 MI5 agents (played by Freema Agyman and Andrew Scott) solve the case, and they open up a can of worms in the process. I always find audio dramas need a bit of time to get your ear in – this is no different – but once in it’s gripping!

 

Those three will keep you going for the next few weeks, as Audible builds the content in their app. Based on what I saw in the focus group for Audible Channels in the UK, there are more shows coming to Audible Shows (watch out for “Days That Changed The World” and Naomi Alderman’s “Zombies Run! – The Way of All Flesh”.)

For now I have lined up two that look right up my street: “Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel” and “What Were You Thinking?”. I go to them knowing that the quality will be high, and the storytelling strong – all to fit the Audible brand.

 

 

 

 

On Air: 4 Reasons to Start A Podcast Today

On Air: 4 Reasons to Start A Podcast Today

 

Why has everyone suddenly gone podcast mad? Business leaders, thought leaders, radio presenters, tv stars are all getting on the audio train lately. Feeling like you might be too late to start yours? Don’t.

Here’s why you should consider it:

1. Podcasts are really easy (and cheap) to make

Not only is the equipment super cheap, it’s easier to edit out mistakes, and you don’t have to put your make up on or do your hair before you press record. Podcast wear = whatever your think is appropriate, and that may be your pyjamas.

And as a quick overview:
You need 3 pieces of equipment for podcasting: 1) a microphone 2) an audio recorder 3) an audio editor

If you work in radio or media production, you probably have access to these already, but all can be found for under £100 each. You can even record you speaking on applications like zoom.us (free) and edit on something like iMovie. Plus that phone in the palm of your hand has a load of audio recording/editing capacity.

Then you need a host to put the audio on to, check audioboom, libsyn, soundcloud, Acast
And then you need a platform to broadcast from:  Apple Podcasts, Acast, podbean (see point 3)

2. You’ll Find Your Voice

When you are working on behalf of a company, you have to adhere to brand image, editorial policies and formats. This can get in the way of you finding your true voice and being able to express what you care about.

With a podcast you really get the opportunity to put your passions and interests first. Give people the chance to get to know you and your values. It feeds your other work as well by encouraging you to form stories and communicate succinctly. If you do a weekly podcast, it will improve your day to day communication.

3. Apple Have Upped Their Game 

It’s been a long time coming but Apple are about to release analytics to podcasters. The newly titled “Apple Podcasts” is the main platform for podcast listening and up until now, they’ve kept the analytics hidden from podcast creators. If you’re a creator, you’re going to be able to see just how people listen to your audio, whether they listen to the end, skip bits or tune out.

This data means that we can only start to improve, and if you are starting now, it gives you an efficient feedback loopmaking it efficient for you to improve.

 

4. You’ll Reach Your Audience & Create A Meaningful Connection

It’s fine to treat your audience to your vlog, but if you want to get content right through into the hearts and minds of your audience, listening is where it’s at.

Well produced audio has a habit of seeping in to the brain in a way that visual can’t. Let’s face it, your listeners are busy people, they can’t stop to watch you all the time they have things to do. But they can listen to you while they have things to do.

I have been working in radio for the last 20 years and have helped people produce podcasts, consutled and done a lot of listening. It’s time for me to start too, watch this space.

 

 

4 Reasons To Practice Your Presentation

4 Reasons To Practice Your Presentation

Ever delivered a talk or a workshop and things go awry? My best “awry moment” to date was delivering a workshop at Social Chain in Manchester. The CEO’s dog, Pablo (in pic), decided to start licking my leg. Even when staff got him away from me, he would sidle back and start again. (it wasn’t that gross I promise!)

It proved yet again that nothing can be lost from taking the time to rehearse. The process of practice has so many benefits.

1) You Get Confident With Your Content

Making sure the first time you say something in a meeting, pitch or speech is not the first time you say it out loud, will save you from so many mistakes. Rehearsal allows the muscles in your face to get used to the words, and it trains your brain to start sorting your points in the right order. You are less likely to stutter, say something you didn’t mean to, or get over zealous.

Tip: say it out loud in the car on the way to the meeting or in the shower that morning at least.

2) You Can Make Your Talk Succinct

Practice means you can give your points brevity. The “Rehearse/Edit” process allows you to hear when you are waffling, or when you get boring.

Tip: film yourself and watch it back the next day. You will be able to see immediately if you are saying too many words that have no impact

3) You Won’t Miss A Trick 

Confident speakers will tell you they don’t have to rehearse. They know what they are talking about and they can get up and do it. Except these are the guys that when they reflect, think of the great idea that could’ve made their talk better. At least one run through means you get the best out of your content.

Tip: If you’ve not had the idea while running through your talk, film yourself and watch it back. Just like you will see what needed to have been taken away, you’ll also notice what you can add.

4) You Can Cope With A Dog Licking Your Legs 
(or your kids walking in in the background, or any unexpected event)

Madonna is renowned for making her dancers rehearse so much so that if something goes wrong (like a cloak no being removed properly) all they have to think about is what’s going wrong, not their moves. Same goes here.

Tip: if you want to get your talk completely memorised you should repeat repeat repeat until you can do something else (like cooking or tapping a rhythm) while saying it out loud.

Pablo. One of the dogs allowed to roam in the offices at Social Chain (and he happens to be the CEOs)

Pablo the dog decided that my legs tasted great, once he started licking, he could not stop. When I moved: he followed, when the staff removed him: he returned, in the end I spent the last 5 minutes of the workshop carrying him in my arms. The work I’d put in to rehearsing the content meant I wasn’t thrown: I was able to incorporate the dog and deliver the workshop.

Kind of reminded me of this:

 

 

Planning the Speech

Preparing a speech is hard. It takes time and you deserve to give it the time. But I know, I understand: There can be so much information to get across. There can be loads you actually want to talk about. There can be nothing that springs to mind. And usually you get to the point where you think… “I’ll just deliver the info, no one needs or wants anything more than that…”

Stop.

It’s time to change the way you think about speaking in public.

From now on think about speaking in public as….

  1. Storytelling
  2. Talking about what you care about
  3. Conversing with a friend

How… put what you want to achieve, why its important to you and how you got there in to your prep.
Here are the questions I ask my speaking clients before we even begin…

  1. What is the purpose of your talk?
  2. Who is the audience and what will they be expecting from you? Where are you?
  3. What one thing do you want the audience to understand from your talk?
  4. What is your connection to the topic? eg What made you proud? What made you laugh? What do you obsess about? What made you sad / frustrated? (the emotions go on and on)
  5. How do you want the audience to think/feel about you when you have finished?

The answers here lay the foundation to how you build a great talk, and a great connection with your audience. You’ll find the stories to tell, and the connections to find.

What Is Creativity?

What Is Creativity?

When I hear people say they aren’t creative it makes me want to weep into my shoes.

Creativity = problem solving + authentic response + skills + confidence

It does not = genius + highly intelligent + artist + born with it

Everyone is creative. Every human has the desire to create something. It’s just that some people put it all in to practice more than others.

For example:

Problem: There is no painting on my wall

Solution: I’m going to paint one

Authentic Response: I love the colours pink blue and yellow together, and I love trees

Skills: Learn how – what you need, some idea of composition, tools and painting structure.

Confidence: Let go and take a risk and boom you have a painting.

No one is not creative… People who practice creativity are the ones that are best at it. And they have learned 4 things:

  • No idea comes to you without your brain entering some sort of relaxed state – which is why you get your best ideas in the shower (look up “theta waves creativity“).
  • Not every idea is great, but it doesn’t matter – the next one will be. Keep on keeping on.
  • Make creativity a daily habit – write, draw, present… just create the thing you love.
  • Some days nothing comes. Those are the days to do something else and come back to it tomorrow.

Now what you reading this for? Go create 🙂