6 things I learned when I started a Podcast

First, let me tell you that starting a Podcast is a wonderful way to practice the principles of communication that we learn at Toastmasters. Secondly, you’ll have a lot of fun.

At the beginning of 2019, seemingly like a new year’s resolution, I’ve published the first episode of my new podcast. It was live on the internet and I was proud of it. Little did I know that I would be shown a world of opportunities and learnings. Here, I’m gonna share some of the things I’ve learned.

– Be interested
I was a terrible listener, even though I’m a generally sociable person. I always thought that I had more interesting things to say than the people around me. I was wrong.

Let’s be honest – most of us just love to talk about ourselves and what we’ve achieved. Guess what? To be a nice host (if your podcast isn’t a monologue) you just need to be interested in your guest’s story and keep asking questions. You should research your topic (see what I did there?) but ultimately should focus on genuinely listening to your guest. Some might call it active listening – I call it learning to be interested.

– Other people will appreciate you
Why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve? How are you gonna add value? If any of your answers included any form of “give” and “community”, then you are on the right pathway to get praise and appreciation from your audience. That’s precisely when you’re providing value to a community that you’ll be more likely to succeed as a Podcaster.

– The golden rule of consistency
I defined that I would publish a new episode every other week, Tuesday 6:30pm. That made me accept that some content would be unperfect. In fact, most of it is far from perfect. But that was what made me publish fortnight in and out. I literally wouldn’t sleep until the episode was uploaded and scheduled.

– You’ll inspire others to join your cause
This is probably the most surprising thing I’ve learned. Once you believe in a cause and pour your heart into it, other people will follow you. I found myself surrounded by like-minded people that are willing to contribute to that cause. Suddenly it wasn’t just my podcast but a
team project fueled by a common passion.

– Ask difficult questions
I spent too much time asking my guests the questions I knew the answers to. If there was a topic not in their favor, I would avoid it. But in fact, those were the questions that would let them shine. When I understood that, my audience started to actually get to know the guests
and discussions became much richer.

If you prefer to provide your guests with a safety net, ask them the tricky questions while off or share the script before you record, so they are ready to answer. The important thing isn’t to catch them off-guard, but to allow them to address certain topics.

– You’ll learn a lot about audio editing, web, social media, acoustics…
I had no clue on how to talk to a microphone, how to interview someone or how to edit and publish a podcast. And that’s the beauty of it. You’ll have to learn how to use a myriad of tools. Don’t worry if there are imperfections… You’ll likely survive.

The synergy with your audience is personal, relatable, imperfect. You’ll learn as you go, and your audience will enjoy being part of that ride.

Now, start doing it!
Podcasting is a fun and entertaining way to work your communication skills and become
influential in topics you love – can be about music or cinema, your professional industry or
even helping others to communicate better.

In my case, I decided to talk about a passion of mine: craft beer. If you fancy checking it out,
visit quembebeporgosto.pt or search “Quem bebe por gosto” on iTunes or Spotify.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own podcast, let me just give you a tiny push
forward: go for it! If you have any questions, feel free to write me at me@tlopes.me and I’ll
gladly help with your first podcast. Tune in!

Tiago Lopes | Lisboa Oriente Toastmasters Club