What yoga taught me about podcasting.

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                                      The fourth in a series on podcasting.

A whole crowd of passionate people, anxious to bring improvement to their daily life and practice, are crowded into a room filled to capacity, anticipating their next moves.

Sounds like one of the sessions at this year’s Podcast Movement gathering in Philadelphia — the big deal annual event for podcasters. It’s just getting underway as I write this.

But this room is hot and sweaty and I’m among the weakest students on the mat.

Our yoga teacher tells us: “Breathe.” Ah yes, breathe. As I struggled to avoid falling over, twisting my limbs into a hopelessly contorted tangle, the reminder was needed and much appreciated.

And so it is during the most intense moments of podcasting. We need to breathe. Avoid tensing up. Relax. As Riji, our yoga teacher says” “Be calm. Be prepared. Be in the moment and enjoy what you do.”

Unlike many forms of physical activity, yoga is not a contest. We come to learn from others, not to beat them. In doing so, we learn about ourselves and our practice.

And so it is with podcasting.

At last count, there were more than 550,000 shows to choose from. New entrants come into our space every day. Many have important things to say. Unlike broadcasting, where the competition for bandwidth is fierce and ratings are king, everybody here is welcome. The more the merrier. There are so many niches to fill and communities to serve.

“Never be jaded about your practice,” says Riji.

How true this should be for podcasters. As the religious folk among us would say: We are all blessed to be doing something we love and share it with the world.

But how to stand out in the crowd? Or reach the people you want to hear to your message?

First: Listen to them. Find out what they are looking for. What they would like to learn more about? Unlike many prime-time broadcasters, the best podcasters assume that their audience is smart. However, they also understand that listeners are busy. Their time is precious and that they don’t really care what you are talking about, unless you respect them and take them seriously.

So avoid jargon and inside baseball. And I would argue (controversially), avoid the F-word and other trash talk. They get in the way of being your best self.

Invite people into the room.

Riji, the yoga teacher, says pretty much the same thing in each session I’ve attended. But as I struggle on the mat, I hear different things each time.

Above all, she says, “positivity is infectious. Bring a smile with you about what you do.”

And so it is with podcasting. Enjoy your practice.

Richard Davies is a podcaster and audio consultant. His website: http://www.daviescontent.com.

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