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The Power of Podcasting: 5 ways you can level up

I started my podcast journey in 2019, just before the pandemic hit, as co-host and producer of Magicians Talking Magic Podcast; we talk high-level magic theory and interview some of the industry's most influential magicians. In 2020 after performing my first virtual magic show, a new opportunity came up from Nova Mutual Insurance out of Jarvis, ON. Together in the fall of 2020, we launched a new initiative, "Uplift with Nova Mutual," a podcast that would share stories from Nova's community, partners, members and team. I've interviewed my heroes, champions of change, and game-changers through both of these podcasts. Everyone has a thought-provoking story to tell, no matter what your industry.

The world of podcasts isn't new, but it is quickly growing. It's an excellent opportunity to record an honest conversation about your authentic brand. After producing 200 episodes of both podcasts (combined) and reflecting on that accomplishment, I realized five ways that I have levelled up. You don't have to start a podcast, but seeking out the opportunity can level up your skills in these 5 ways:

1. Writing

In the early episodes of Magicians talking Magic, I remember we used point form notes on cue cards, but we had discussed the episode flow beforehand. Over time as you create something, you naturally want to out-do yourself; after listening to the episodes, we realized if we wrote some of the moments out beforehand, we wouldn't sound as relaxed (um, but and so) or careless in the way we talk. We would still leave moments for improvisation, but by writing the episode out beforehand, we could increase our vocabulary and be more mindful about what we were saying.

I'm a graphic artist first. I spent ten-plus years designing commercials, billboards, websites, vehicle wraps, and so much more. From spending so much time working with graphics, words have become more or fewer shapes, and it's a challenge when I have to write. I lean on modern-day tools to help me write out my ideas and essentially sound smarter. I'm using Grammarly to write anything I write from a blog post, social post, email, or podcast description.

I went from never writing to writing multiple blog posts a week and increasing my confidence because of the podcast. You need a great title, a captivating description, and an informative blog post to promote these episodes. Podcasts challenge your writing ability and think a little more critically.

2. Public Speaking

Many of us will have to eventually present in person or virtually, and it's often perceived as one of the most intimidating things we do in our professional careers. My relationship with my voice has grown from podcasting once, sometimes even twice a week. Oh, that sounds naughty! I learned how to project my voice without straining it and speak at a much slower pace.

How do you practice your sales pitch or presentation? I often use the podcast as a tool for a "dry run" or soft launch. Comedians are known to take material from or workshop material on a podcast. The more you get the opportunity to record these interviews or your podcast, your confidence will grow, making you more authentic and trustworthy for your next pitch.

3. Researching

We are in a "know it all" society. Everything is a google search away - the secret, the answer. From researching numerous episodes for two different podcasts, I found the experience very humbling. We naturally begin from our vantage point, beliefs, and expectations when starting notes for a podcast episode. Once you open up to other perspectives in your research, you will unlock so many new ways of thinking and a more significant appreciation for your subject matter.

4. Collaboration

The best thing to come from podcasting is the ability to collaborate on an episode with a co-host or guest. Taking the time to talk high-level about a topic in your field with a colleague and giving it the presence of mind that this is a podcast episode - you're going to create magic.

I think it's important to outline roles when collaborating, and it's no different with a podcast. My role as host is to ask curious and insightful questions giving my guest or co-host a layup. I hope that whomever I happen to be collaborating with on any given topic - we unlock some new ideas neither of us thought about. If I positively pass the ball, it's very likely to get the ball back the same way you gave it - positively.

5. Improvisation

Give yourself permission to act on instinct and improvise. You'll naturally want to prepare, over-prepare and possibly even create some expectations in your mind of what the podcast might be. Once you can be open and agile to the situation - you'll be able to be more spontaneous, instant and confident with a question or joke.

The key to great improv is the simple rule of "Yes, and." It's powerful to listen and show enough presence to keep the conversation going without your ego getting in the way. From producing 200 episodes, I learned the power of listening and asking thoughtful questions based on a response. This easy-sounding action, listen and ask an intelligent question, is the ultimate secret sauce to a great podcast, presentation or pitch.

You want to promote your business but, YouTube or TikTok doesn't feel suitable for your brand? A podcast is an incredible way to build an authentic connection with your audience.

This article was written by Graeme Reed, a virtual magician and podcaster from Canada.