Podcasting… an impulse, a plunge and a lot of sleepless nights!

So those that weren’t all caught up in IBM Connect last week (yes I know, not many of you) might have noticed I did something new. Well not new in itself, but new for me. I decided to try and see if I could do a podcast.

Now a normal person would probably think about that for a while, look into options, investigate Software/Hardware requirements etc and do a few trial runs….

Not me.

On Monday night, 6 days before IBM Connect was to start, I was thinking of having to live through the event without being there (I wasn’t going while all my friends and a good number of coworkers were) and decided that I needed some way of feeling connected as I would go stir crazy otherwise. So what could make me feel more connected? Well talking to people there! But what would entice people to make time for me out of their busy conference schedule….? Hey I know, I’ll interview them!

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And with that, presto the idea of doing a series of short podcasts about the conference  and all things going on around it was born. I called it “Connecting to Connect” and decided I could do one a day if I kept them to short 15min sessions.

Ignorant naive little me…

The next day I Googled around a bit, asked advice from a few friends, downloaded Audacity to edit my recordings, purchased Call Recorder as it promised to record Skype calls and set up my first call with Stuart McIntyre. Who, kindly enough, had agreed to be my first victim and guinea pig… The idea being: If I don’t crumble into a big pile of “Ehh’s” and “Ohh’s” then I’ll take the plunge and go ahead with it!

And so I did. To be honest, the first one I hardly had to say anything at all. Stuart was a great first guest as he didn’t need much prompting to talk at all and although I still had to edit out a good number of “Ehh’s” on my part it wasn’t too bad and thus I figured: “Yeah, let’s do this!“. I didn’t waste any time and promptly reached out to friends and acquaintances within the community to make arrangements to do one podcast a day for each day leading up to and during the conference: 10 in all.

So one day after coming up with the idea I had committed myself to doing 10 podcasts in just as many days…

oh boy, did I not realize what I had just gotten myself into…

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So, ten days on, what lessons did I learn from all this:

  1. Don’t forget to press “Record”!
  2. Don’t start every question with “So!”, respond to every answer with “Ok, ehh…” and end every question with “Uhem,…” (Let’s say, it made me very good at editing)
  3. Make clear appointments and set times…. no seriously, SET TIMES. Saying “Yeah, we’ll do it sometime tomorrow afternoon…” with a guest that is 6hrs behind you in time zones will cause you sleepless nights… literally.
  4. Insight jokes are no fun to outsiders. Doing podcasts with people you consider to be friends is great as it makes you less stressed but you have to be careful not to be too familiar with them (and definitely don’t forget to introduce them!).
  5. Getting people to talk isn’t the problem, getting them to STOP can be a whole different story! (Still learning that one)
  6. Don’t fear sudden silences, they are an editors Godsend (and I know this by experience, believe me)
  7. Don’t try to record a podcast with someone standing in the CGS room while they are rehearsing it and blasting the CGS music in the background. It really isn’t that good of an idea… No really, it isn’t… (that one got trashed unfortunately)
  8. Bet on the conference WIFI to do the interviews over Skype? Yes! It was surprisingly reliable! Apart from one dropped call it held up perfectly all week.
  9. Prepare a basic set of notes & questions ahead of time so you have something to refer to when you get nervous and forget everything, including your guests name… (he didn’t notice)
  10. Don’t get nervous! It will make you start blabbering in incomprehensible Dutch…
  11. Don’t panic if you forget a question. Just ask it again later on and cut it in afterwards. That’s why there is editing software (had to do a good few of those!)
  12. Don’t scratch your nose while you are recording… yeah, don’t really think that one needs explaining…
  13. Don’t set yourself to doing more then you can handle…. Oh boy did I learn that one… Being a total beginner at this I spend, on average 3-4,5 hours per 15min podcast (reading up on the guest, recording, editing & posting). Doing that all week while still also doing a normal (and busy!) work week as well as trying to do my daily exercise routines and cook/clean/other housework definitely broke me up after 10 consecutive days! I will be happily catching up on sleep this weekend.
  14. headsetExpensive software and or equipment really isn’t necessary when you are starting out. Call Recorder cost me 29$, Audacity was Freeware as was Skype of course, and for recording I simply used my MacBook and a little iPhone headset. I did order a real microphone but as I kind of did all this last minute that didn’t arrive until today (day after the conference and finishing the last one, go figure).
  15. Enjoy what you are doing. It comes out soooo much better if you do!
  16. Oh and did I mention: DON’T FORGET TO PRESS “RECORD”!

So will this be a one off? I don’t know. I did like doing it – stress and all – and although I’m certainly not planning on doing so many of them in such a short time frame ever again and absolutely need more training on this, I definitely see myself trying this again in some way or form.

Most importantly though I want to give a big THANK YOU to the people who made time out of their busy work and/or conference schedules to be a guest on the podcast and to all the others that gave suggestions & advise as well as supported me. Without them none of this would ever have happened!

p.s. Personal hat tip to the great podcasters this community has had over the years. I don’t know how people like Darren Duke & Stuart McIntyre, Chris Miller, David Leedy, Bruce Elgort & Julian Robichaux and many others that have done or still do podcasting on a regular basis managed to keep going for as long as they do/did. It takes a lot of effort and dedication and these 10 days have given me a newfound respect for them! Kudos guys!

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