Getting the most out of podcasts

December 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

I’m still listening to several For Immediate Release (FIR) podcasts each day, trying to catch up.  My goal is to be able to stay current and listen to each podcast as it is posted every Monday and Thursday.  There’s so much good information in these recordings and I want to be able to spend ample time reviewing the resources that are cited and maybe, one day, commenting and getting involved in the conversation. 

As I near the end of the list (four more to go before 12/28), I’m starting to feel the rhythm, and I’ve figured out a few ways to get the most out of my listening.  Some of these techniques are very similar to what always worked for me when I was in school, so I’m not surprised at how effective they are for me.  As usual, it’s just a matter of having a plan, and then putting it into action.

“Preview” the show before listening to it

There are numerous resources for doing this.  The podcast blog gives a brief summary of the show along with links to some of the topics discussed. As far as I can tell, this is on line soon after each show is recorded, so it’s often possible to scan it before listening. Show notes are listed on The New PR Wiki, which invites listeners to contribute not only to the show notes themselves, but to the wiki in general.  I find that a review of the show notes is particularly valuable when preparing to listen to a podcast.  I also like to look at the comments posted in FIR’s room on Friendfeed, as these are often referenced during the show.

Take notes while listening

This has to do with my personal style.  I carry a spiral notebook with me almost everywhere I go.  It’s always the same notebook (until I fill it up and need a new one).  Even when I don’t leave the house, I often bring it with me from room to room.  Writing stuff down has proven to be, for me at least, the most important step in getting stuff done. 

As I listen to the podcast I jot down key words that catch my attention and pique my interest.  I do this to reinforce the concept in my own mind, as well as to keep a list of ideas that I will probably want to explore further on my own.  I limit my notes to key words so as not to disrupt my ability to listen.  Knowing there are show notes published on the wiki that I can go back to later really makes this easy to do.

Now that I’m more familiar with the format of the show and the people who regularly contribute to it, I’ve started jotting time codes when possible (attached).  As noted earlier, listeners are invited to contribute to the show notes; and, adding time codes is one area where I might be able to add some value. I know that having them listed in my own notes has proven useful.  I’ve also started using a star system to mark my favorite parts of each show.

Review and use

Between the podcast blog, the show notes, and my own notes, I’ve got the viewable materials that ideally complement the auditory experience and add an element of concreteness to the many topics covered in the hour-or-so-long show. Of course, I can also listen again to any part of any podcast, if I really want to.  While all that information is nice to have, it’s no good to me unless I put it into action.  (Turning ideas into action is part of my value system.)  This starts with a thorough review of the ideas presented in the podcast, and those that came to me as I listened to the podcast.  I then give serious consideration to the ones that I can use within the next week.  I narrow them down and set short-term goals as a way of avoiding the information overload that we all feel these days.  There’s so much out there and there’s more to come.  I grab what I can handle and try to manage it so I’ve got room in my head and in my life, for more.


Download now or preview on posterous

FIR Time Codes.pdf (23 KB)


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

My praises for For Immediate Release Podcasts a-plenty

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