Mark Stephens Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

Top 6 tips for appearing on your first podcast

1 min read

I have never been on a podcast, so when Patrick Foley invited me I was really curious. What did we actually do? Would it hurt? Is that what I really sound like? So what did I learn that I think you would find useful…

1. Do your homework

Most podcasts are a regular series so you can listen to previous episodes (in this case I was already a regular) and see how they work. I found it really helps to get a mental picture of an imaginary ‘typical’ listener. That really helps to set the scene and give appropriate responses.

2. Agree a format/agenda

I was given a list of possible questions 2 hours before the broadcast which gave me time to think about what I could say. This actuals makes the whole thing more spontaneous and avoids a really boring set of No, No, Yes, Maybe answers.

3. Remember it is ‘radio’ not TV

Radio has flourished despite other media because it is unique. It feels personal and intimate. I can feel (probably with some justification in the case of my podcast) that it is just me and Patrick chatting and that no-one else is listening. People can listen to the podcast anywhere and they can feel it is just them and you if you get it right.

4. The technical gremlins will always make a guest appearance

Computers and the Internet makes producing podcasts very easy. You just need two computers with microphones, and an Internet connection. But things like the Internet connection dropping (and you have to try to remember and repeat that really good spontaneous ad lib) and you have to just expect these and carry on.

5. A good presenter is critical

If you do sales/marketing calls or webex sessions over the phone you will appreciate how difficult it can be communicating without those visual clues. Has the other person stopped speaking or just paused for breath? Are they listening in total concentration or yawning and checking their email/twitter? Are they laughing with me or at me? If you cannot see the other person the road from comfort to paranoia can be remarkably short.

I was lucky. Patrick is a pro. His job is to set the other person at ease, draw them out, pick up on things which might have been missed and create an interesting show for his listeners. If you listen to the previous shows you will know what the presenter is like and how he operates.

6. Don’t panic

Always good advice. No podcasts are broadcast live so there is time to sort out any technical problems edit out any pauses, stammers or unfortunate words.

I really enjoyed being on a podcast (so thanks Patrick for indulging me), and you can hear 88 really brilliant podcasts at The Startup Success Podcast (probably best to skip number 89).

If you have just done a podcast what was it like? Do you have any tips?

Mark Stephens Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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