Spirited Communication

A timely question about podcast listening

In a recent issue of the Ragan Report, communication consultant Steve Crescenzo asks a valid question about podcasts: Who has time to listen to podcasts on a regular basis?

With short podcasts running 10-15 minutes, and some shows running over an hour, you have to be dedicated to keep up. I recently put my ..MP3 player aside for a week, because I was stressing too much about the podcasts that I wasn’t hearing because of other life commitments. It did feel good to take a break, but I’ve started downloading my favorite podcasts again. I guess that I’m hooked.

Steve wondered what percentage of company employees would make time to listen to their CEO’s podcast–especially if it wasn’t “wildly funny, wickedly entertaining or highly controversial.” I know people who would. They are the same people who watch company videos, or listen to the quarterly all-employee meeting on CD or tape. When I worked at Fort James Corporation, we offered cassette tapes to employees who missed the quarterly meetings. Although the numbers weren’t large, it typically was people who didn’t want to be “out of the loop.” Every company has people like this.

A podcast is the latest way to distribute audio information and commentary. People who want to listen to it, will find time. The digital format and help such as show notes with time codes actually make it more convenient for the listener to select the information that is most appealing.

Personally, I find the process of downloading podcasts to my MP3 player a little cumbersome and time-consuming. That’s because I don’t have an iPod, I guess. I use Feedburner to download the podcasts to my PC, then I import them into the software that allows me to copy the podcasts to my MP3 player (a Sony Walkman Bean). But I have to convert every podcast file to an audio format (speed) that my player supports. Otherwise, the podcasts play too quickly, and the podcasters sound like the Chipmunks.

1 Comment

  1. Judy Gombita

    Tom, I recall a recent discussion we had about the effectiveness of retaining information (or not) when the organization’s “resource toolkit” includes audio, visual and experiential elements. (Of course offering up more than one media takes up even more time, for both the communicator and end user!)

    For example, recently I was working with our 2006 valedictorian on the speech she was delivering at her admission to membership ceremony. The absolute best part (in my opinion) is where she talks about her crunch course (Management Auditing) and how sometimes she got so tired and found the material so difficult to comprehend, that she no longer knew what she was reading. So much so that she even considered deferring the exam.

    She then describes how her husband suggested some reading tips (for retention), and then “to further enhance my understanding and memorization, he suggested that besides using my eyes and brain, I needed to engage other senses, such as my mouth, my hands and my ears.”

    What happened was that every night after she studied she’d give a brief presentation to her husband about the material. Next they would have a chat: he’d ask questions, she would answer them. And then he would ask some more questions.

    (By the end of the session period the husband declared he was ready to take the Management Auditing exam, too.)

    Hey…maybe she should create a podcast about her effective studying techniques! 🙂

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