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The Future of Podcasting

Some people say that podcasting is the new blogging. However, there are still many impediments to podcasting becoming as simple as blogging. Having said that, as podcast technology improves and the ability to stream and listen anywhere becomes commonplace, podcasting has a strong future. 

  • iTunes – According to iTunes, there are over 250K podcasts available for you to listen to on their service, in more than 100 languages. It’s not that easy to get your podcast on iTunes, so that’s saying a lot. Tech like iTunes is necessary to help podcast developers monetize and count their audience. 
  • Streaming Technology – As you probably know from trying to listen to podcasts on your device, sometimes it’s touch and go. It depends on how strong your Wi-Fi is and where the towers are. As technology gets better, there will be more podcasts, and if you make yours super-professional it’ll stand out.
  • Recording Technology – The barrier to entry is getting lower and lower for podcasting. Today, most people can use their laptop computer as is to make a podcast with nothing more than a quiet room to do it in. However, using technology like Audacity.com will make it sound more professional. 
  • Multitasking – Regardless of the science involved with multitasking, people still like to do it. Podcasts are perfect to listen to while driving, while running, and while walking on the treadmill. If you can come up with a podcast that helps your audience in some way make something easier or more bearable, you’ve got it made.
  • Search Engines – Today there are search engines designed for podcasts and radio. This is a great thing to help your audience find you. It helps you filter content and even stop, skip, and save the things you like. This type of technology is going to make podcasts even more popular.
  • Monetization – It can be more difficult to monetize a podcast that a website or blog, but it is very doable. You can sell advertising spots directly to people who want to sell something to your audience, but you’re going to need to have a very popular podcast to accomplish it. However, the place to make money is on the back end via your own product or affiliate promotions during the show.
  • Stitcher – Apps like this help you listen to podcasts on any device on demand. You can get an ad-free version by paying for a membership. This is a great way to get your show listened to more often. It’s programmed using RSS feeds, so all you do is provide them the feed and they load it fast and your audience can play it over mobile or in their car network. The easier we can make it for people to find podcasts and listen, the more popular they’ll become. 

The future of podcasting is strong. If you have an idea for a podcast, you shouldn’t delay starting yours. Getting in now will ensure that you have more listeners, and more listeners will equate to more traffic and more money for your business.

How to Position Yourself as an Expert to the Media

If you’ve ever wondered how to get the media to treat you like an expert, then you’re not alone. Many times, you’ve probably seen a news story and thought, “Wow, that could be me.” And, you would not be wrong. You can be the go-to expert to the media as long as you position yourself as the expert in advance.

  • Build Relationships in Advance – Normally, you can’t just become an expert without laying a foundation. Follow relevant journalists and reporters that cover your niche and stories like yours on social media. Interact with them; if they ask questions or start discussions, take part in them. Get to know them and let them get to know you.
  • Define Your Story – Work on defining your story so that you can cut it down to one or two sentences that have meaning. The right words will elicit curiosity while also letting the media know about you enough to want to know more.
  • Hold Events – The media loves events. Plus, they give you an opportunity to show off your expertise. If you can plan an event that is free or paid where people show up, send out a press release to the journalists and reporters that you’ve built relationships with. This can give them a taste of how you work.
  • Never Cold Call – Journalists and reporters don’t like it when people call them without any provocation. If they’ve asked for sources, or just told a story that is relevant, send them a message through email before calling. They’ll call you if they want to talk to you. If you have inside information that’s of utmost importance, you can make an exception.
  • Know Who to Contact – It’s imperative that you know who to contact. Sending out generic press releases and blindly emailing editors doesn’t work. You need to contact certain individuals who will be interested in your story because that’s their subject matter and job. Ask yourself, what’s in it for them, because they’re going to ask you and you need to know the answer.
  • Pitch Only Relevant Stories – Never pitch stories that are irrelevant. Find ways to make your story applicable. If you’ve heard of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” then you get the idea. Find a connection and use that connection to make your pitch. 
  • Answer Their Queries for Experts – Sometimes reporters and journalists need experts to answer questions. If you’ve made a personal relationship with some, they will start calling on you if you’ve done a good job letting them know. You can also join an organization called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). 
  • Always Say Yes – Media work on short deadlines. Because of this fact, you should be prepared to always say yes to questions. Don’t worry; most of them are busy too so they won’t keep you longer than they must. But, you’ll endear yourself to them enough that when you have a story you want to be covered, they’ll show up. 
  • Become a Favored Source – By always being there for the reporters that you make personal contact with, especially locally, you can easily become a favored source and find yourself being quoted all the time. This is a good place to be in that may take some time to develop, but if you work at it, it’ll happen. 

Your expertise status might not happen overnight, but the more you connect and build relationships and say yes when a reporter or journalist wants to interview you, the faster it will happen. 

How to Educate Contextually – And Why You Should

When it comes to educating staff or your target audience, it is most effective to educate contextually, for a number of reasons. 

What Is Contextual Learning?

Contextual learning is based on the theory that all students will be able to use and retain information if it is put into a context that is understandable and relevant to their personal life and experiences. 

In former times, students were forced to learn by rote, memorize material so they could recite it word for word and respond only to question and answer interactions with the teacher. Their knowledge was drilled into them, with little or no exploration of whether or not the information was relevant in the real world. A child might be able to recite their times table by heart, for example, but could they do simple sums on their slates?

Contextual education recognizes that learning is a complex process which involves a student’s personality and perceptions, and that the information learned should make sense and be useful. 

For example, people once studied the classics, Latin and Ancient Greek, as a stepping stone to careers in medicine, law, or the Church. Now the only people who study these subjects tend to be people who want to earn a degree in Ancient History or languages. They are no longer necessary to survive and thrive in a good career. On the other hand, Microsoft Word and being able to use the internet are essential skills few modern people can survive without.

Meaningful Adult Education

Adults in particular do not learn in a vacuum and really have no time to learn things in an abstract way. They do better with hands-on experience and concrete examples. For instance, you can read a book all about PowerPoint, or you can find a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to create your first presentation. It will have illustrations and examples, and be full of shortcuts such as what menu items to use, so you don’t have to spend ages trying to find what you are looking for. 

The best contextual educational material will provide specifics, and action steps to ensure the student accomplishes their goals. This is one of the reasons online coaching programs have become so popular.

Coaching Programs

Coaching provides context, knowledge and support. The student has a goal they wish to accomplish. The coaching program should be structured in a way that will allow them to achieve that goal without wandering around the topic aimlessly in a confused fog. 

Around 70% of people are visual learners, so videos can be a great way to provide contextual learning. Some people like audiobooks rather than reading, so downloadable files they can listen to on their smartphone, iPod or other devices are ideal. 

The Advantages of Contextual Learning

Contextual learning helps students apply what they discover. They see real-world examples and can model their own work on what really works, so they don’t waste their time. They can engage actively in problem solving, such as how to create a numbered list in PowerPoint or produce a gorgeous graphic using SmartArt.

Contextual learning also offers continual feedback from the instructor, and from their own results. They can see how their deck turns out, for example, and they can then explore ways to improve it. The contextual method engages students, making them eager to learn more because they can see the value of what they are learning, and because they want to do better.

If you are not already teaching staff and prospective customers contextually, it’s time to start designing materials such as sales letters, coaching materials and more. This will make your target audience more active and engaged learners who will stay loyal to your business, because it is so relevant to their lives and offers such great value in terms of their personal growth.

How to Develop Empathy If You Are Lacking

Empathy is a valuable skill to have that can enable you to be more successful in life. If you have ever come across an individual whom you would describe as a “people person”, chances are it’s because they have a high degree of empathy. 

What Is Empathy?

Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s feelings vicariously, as if one has experienced that feeling themselves. It can be joy, pain, loss and so on. It is like putting yourself into another person’s shoes.

Why Is Empathy Important?

Empathy is often referred to as emotional intelligence (EI) – the ability to understand the emotions of others. Studies have shown that those with the highest performance ratings at work tend have the highest level of EI, or empathy, while those with the lowest ratings tend to have the lowest levels of EI. 

That being the case, we can see that empathy can help us succeed not just in our personal relationships, but our business relationships as well.

Developing Your Empathy to Boost Your Success

There are a number of ways to develop your empathy. 

1. Look for good role models

Consider all the people you deal with every day. Who seems to be more of a people person than others? What do they say and do that would indicate this? Look for examples of how they show empathy and start to emulate them. 

2. Deal with your stress levels

Most of us are not at our best when we are stressed. We are focused on ourselves, not on others, which means we will be less than empathetic. Good self-care means space to care about others and practice empathy.

3. Be a cheerleader

Celebrate the successes of others. It will help people feel appreciated and play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses.  

4. Avoid the blame game

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t blame people or scapegoat them. Have the empathy to realize we all make mistakes.

5. Pay attention when people express their emotions

When a person expresses their emotions, they are usually looking for empathy. They might also just be blowing off steam and looking for a sympathetic ear. Pay attention to what is being said, but without trying to “solve the problem”. Listening will often be enough.

6. Watch out for body language

Researchers estimate that up to 75% of our communication occurs through non-verbal means, commonly referred to as body language, and through facial expression. Learning more about body language can tell you if there is a mismatch between what the person is saying and what their body language is telling you.

Also, be aware of your own body language, which can damage the impression of empathy if you are not careful. For example, turning away from someone may appear that you are not interested in what they have to say, even though you might actually be doing it because you are self-conscious about your breath after eating garlic bread at lunch.

When people don’t face each other, they tend to lose vital visual clues conveyed through facial expressions, which means neither of them are really connecting fully and getting the whole picture. 

Giving our full attention to someone shows empathy because it indicates we value them and what they have to say. 

7. Study online

There are many websites devoted to empathy and EI that can help you learn how to read people better. Take the quizzes available to see what your level of EI is. Follow the suggestions the quiz makes as to how you can improve.

8. Practice in real life

Once you have assessed your level of skill, create a checklist from the suggestions and practice doing them in real life.

Now that we’ve talked about what empathy is and how it can be useful in every aspect of life, take steps to develop empathy and see what a difference it can make to your success personally and professionally. 

How to Boost your Business Brand and Sales with Speaking Events

If you’re a consultant, a coach, a trainer or an author (and a lot of professions in between), speaking events will boost your brand and sales almost effortlessly. There are many reasons, but one of which is how you’re perceived as more of an expert if you can get up in front of people and talk about it.

  • Meet More Future Clients – When you go to any type of event, you’ll be able to meet more future clients in person. But, when you speak, they’ll be waiting to meet you and be excited when you speak to them. As one of the so-called VIPs of the event since you’re a speaker, your attention will mean even more to the attendees than if you were another attendee. 
  • Enables You to Sell Your Materials – When you join an event and agree to speak, usually you’re allowed to promote your offering during your speech as well as set up a table outside the speaking venue to encourage more sales. If you have a book, you’ll be able to sell a lot more signed copies than if you did not go to the event. 
  • Some Speaking Events Pay – You can boost your income simply by taking paid speaking events. Paid events can be quite lucrative and often include travel, hotel accommodations and food plus money for speaking. This can lead to thousands in additional revenue each year.
  • Improve Your Networking – The more events you can attend, the more you’ll be able to network in person with people. It is a wonderful way to meet people. Even with online events, there is typically a chat room available. If you attend other people’s speeches, it’s nice to chat with the attendees between events.
  • Enable You to Get Sponsors – When you do public speaking, you can get sponsors to help support your tour if you decide to do one. Contact the brands that you want to represent and ask them. If you have experience as a speaker to show them, that will work better. However, often if you get on their radar due to your success they’re going to ask you.
  • You Can Even Do It from Home – Today, due to online conference software like Zoom.us, GoToWebinar.com and not to mention the advent of Facebook Live, you can perform public speaking events right from home if you want to. This is a great way to boost your brand and get more business. 
  • Increase Subscribers to Your Mailing List – When you do public speaking events, there will be some people who will reach out to you automatically. But, if you incentivize them by offering them a special offer that only they get, you’ll build your list even faster.
  • Boost Your Expertise Quotient – The fact is, most people are so terrified of public speaking that it’s just like writing a book in terms of boosting how people perceive you. If you’re up there speaking, you must be an expert.

Speaking will also provide some personal benefits that you may not have considered previously. For example, a job well done will boost your own confidence in yourself. You’ll feel more assured and feel more satisfied with your abilities to think on your feet and get things done.