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.
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.
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…”
It’s time to change the way you think about speaking in public.
From now on think about speaking in public as….
Talking about what you care about
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…
What is the purpose of your talk?
Who is the audience and what will they be expecting from you? Where are you?
What one thing do you want the audience to understand from your talk?
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)
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.
“I’m not funny…” is the number one reason I hear for people trying to avoid standing in front of people and speaking. “I mean I can be funny when I’m with my friends, but I’m not funny on stage…”
There is no doubt about it, being funny is a great tool to connect with people and create a light uplifting enjoyable talk. But… the good news is you don’t have to “be funny”, to “be funny” for your audience.
You see, being funny is never where you start from. Being honest, telling your stories and creating a connection is where you start from. this is the key to engaging an audience. If it’s there, funny comes later.
Interestingly when I coached four of the presenters for the Next Radio Conference in September, only ONE of them stood out as being naturally funny, but ALL FOUR presentations had people laughing.
By using me as a coach for their talks, my clients are able to find the funny lines if they exist. More often than not the jokes appear like bubbles rising to the top once the speech is discussed, designed, written and rehearsed. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say: 90% of making someone laugh is in the delivery of a line. And the reaction of laughter, doesn’t come because you told a joke, it’s a reaction of surprise and familiarity in a story you told.
So rest assured, the pressure of being funny is felt by everyone, being funny isn’t the key to creating an engaging talk, and you will only know if there is funny in your talk once you’ve written it. Use a trusted friend, associate or coach to help you hear what it is you are trying to say, and if the funny stands out they’ll be able to find it for you.
Radio Industry Award Judging is in full flow, with both ARIA and SRA entries currently under the microscope. I’ve been really lucky to judge a few awards over the last couple of years and I am always struck by a couple of things that I thought would be useful to you when you’re deciding whether to trawl through your audio or “forget it this time”.
1. There are never as many entries as you think
Just like there are never as many texts into a radio studio as you think, there are never as many entries as you think. So you will always have a better chance of being nominated than you presume.
2. You never know who will be a judge
When else do you get industry people listening to you intently with the will for you to do well? Your next boss could be judging your category.
3. Never assume
The biggest mistake people make in editing their entry is assuming that the judges know what’s going on. Because you are on air every day, you assume they’ll have heard it.
But… The judges can’t judge you on what goes out on air every day, they can only judge you on your entry audio. Start from the point of view that the judges have never heard of your show, feature or the presenters, and include audio that sets out your stall at the beginning of the entry.
Good luck if you have entered anything this year. Remember getting a nomination is as good as winning: you get to go on the night and you’re in the programme.
If you want to know how to engage and build your difficult “youth audience” (those pesky under 25s) then Next Radio is the place to be: Monday 19th September.
This last couple of weeks I’ve been coaching some of the speakers lined up to do Next Radio. So, I have a sneaky heads up on some of the content on the day and there is a bit of a theme…
There will be people on stage speaking from hands on experience about how to actually use live streaming, how your business can adapt to the youth audience, how to work with You Tubers and what to be aware of when it comes to employing the next generation of radio professionals.
These are all things you will be able to take to work and put in to action on Tuesday 20th September. You can get the final tickets for Monday here.
I’ve been saying “Show Don’t Tell” in a lot of my sessions recently. It’s one of the fundamentals in “performing” your content and drawing in your listener.
The ideology I use is taught in novel writing. The lesson is that you give the reader the opportunity to add their imagination to the story. Instead of the author writing “She laughed nervously” – which tells the reader exactly what is going on, the ‘Show Don’t Tell’ version is “Her cheeks flushed as she laughed”.
A good author then allows you, as the reader, the space to put your thoughts and pictures into the book, to read betwen the lines, meaning you’re able to engage with the content at a personal level.
How then does this translate to presenting?
Often it’s how you go about explaining your content.
Imagine you are using an audio clip from an interview. You set it up by giving it context…
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…. Here’s what he said” <Play Clip>
At a basic level, you don’t need the “here’s what he said”. It is fine to say:
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…<play clip>”
One step further might get you to a more interesting place
“Up next is the new song from Tom Odell – He’s a big football fan, how’s he feeling about the Euros? <PAUSE FOR A BEAT> <Play clip>”
In an “On Stage” context you can also think about how you are using your slides to show what you are talking about rather than telling your audience what you are saying. You and I both know we shouldn’t write up bullet points on the powerpoint word for word, but when we get to it it’s difficult to find images. We’ve all done it: the bullet points find their way back in. Unfortunately it is a sure fire way to get your audience to glaze over.
Of all examples of the “Show Don’t Tell” technique in presenting content, my favourite has to be the first 60 seconds of this.
I have worked closely with Kate Cocker over the last two years and she has been an immense help to my career. From air checks, presenter coaching, encouragement and contacts Kate has been a superb help to me. Kate helps manage my professional and corporate jobs, my online profile and makes sure I stay on top all those things that are easy to forget as a presenter. She brings passion, energy, creativity and an industry know-how that is invaluable to radio professionals. She is easily contactable, always there with words of wisdom and brings out the best in me as a presenter.
Working with Kate has fundamentally changed the way I approach public speaking. Considering my approach from the listener point of view, drawing out stories to connect more effectively with my audience and investing in preparation have all been key elements to improving the experience for both myself and those listening. My confidence has improved and feedback on the impact of my content and delivery has been really positive, I will be continuing to work with Kate and implement the tools she has given me thus far.