The Facilitating on Purpose podcast launches next Wednesday, September 14 – woot! It’s a podcast for people who design and facilitate learning experiences. Enough people have asked me about the process of creating the podcast that I thought I’d write about it. So, for a peek behind the scenes as to what I’ve done to create my own podcast, read on! Imagine that you and I are sitting down in conversation together…

When did you come up with the idea that you wanted to create a podcast?

I began thinking about it in late 2021 but I knew that I needed time to be able to fit it into my schedule, so I really started planning for it in earnest early in 2022. Sometimes I can be pretty fast to go directly from idea to implementation but I knew this was a big project. I had to be certain that I was not only going to start the podcast but would want to continue doing it for a long time after I launched it.

What compelled you to create a podcast?

In part, I really love learning and I was searching for ways during the pandemic to make time for my own professional development. And I also consider myself to be a big connector, so I knew it would help me keep meeting fantastic facilitators around the world and share our knowledge with others. I talk more about this in the first episode, so I encourage you to listen to that (on your favourite podcast service) on September 14!

How did you know what to do?

I didn’t! But I already knew the person who did. I hired Mary Chan from Organized Sound Productions to coach me through setting up the podcast. She and I had already worked together when she guided me through the process of creating my audio book for Design to Engage, and was my audio editor for that book. Since a lot of Mary’s work is supporting people who podcast (and she has her own excellent podcast about podcasting), I knew she would be wonderful to work with on this project. Mary actually has a 12-week program to help people set up their podcasts, and we’ve been working through this program together since  April this year. After I launch the podcast next week, Mary and I will have our 12th session – which is all about celebrating that the podcast has been launched!

How did you find the time to fit the preparation work into your schedule?

Well, for the first couple of months I just “made it happen”, fitting in the work around my regular client-based learning design and facilitation work. But since about the middle of June I’ve been reserving Fridays mostly for working on podcast-related tasks. Mary’s program also helped me organize my time and work around what needed to be done. I’m a pretty organized person and I really connected with the process that Mary guided me through – even though I wasn’t always on time with what I had to get done! Every week she gave me lessons to read and listen to, as well as homework to do. She set me up with a Trello board so that we could both be organized about what needed to happen when. I had used Trello all the way through researching, writing and publishing my book, so I was familiar with and already liked the platform. I found it worked pretty well to keep me on track and motivate me to get stuff done. Plus, Mary is a great champion and every time we met I came away energized about what we were creating together.

You’ve obviously already recorded some episodes to get ready for the launch. How did you learn how to speak on mic?

Um, I’m still learning! But I feel like I’ve already learned a lot through my coaching with Mary (both times) about using my voice effectively. I already had the professional mic and sound equipment from when I read my audio book, so I just had to re-set it up in my regular work space. I basically just keep practicing and listening back to what I sound like. If you listen to yourself over and over again on a recording you begin to hear when you sound “flat” or “dead”, or you say things with the wrong inflection or tone, and you learn techniques to bump up your energy and just, well, sound better! Mary’s feedback has helped me so much over time with this, and I know it’s something I’ll keep learning about – and keep doing better at – as time goes on. Just like with facilitation, I just try to sound like a real person at the end of the mic. I laugh a lot generally and sometimes do crazy things with my voice anyway so I’ll either sound really kooky on the podcast or, hey, it just might be super engaging! 😉

What have you found the most challenging so far?

Having just recorded a small number of solo and guest episodes so far – the podcast is going to feature a mixture of both – I can say that I definitely find the solo episodes more challenging. As a facilitator I am really used to interacting with other people and so just standing there alone with my thoughts and a mic to record a solo episode has been somewhat daunting! But actually, I just have to try to channel my inner facilitator when I’m recording alone. I have recorded a lot of videos over the years for workshops and courses I have taught (either welcome videos before virtual sessions or weekly videos when facilitating longer asynchronous online courses) or created for social media purposes, so I just have to remember that I DO know how to speak in an engaging way when no one else is there. One of Mary’s strengths is helping me to always remember to keep my listener – you! – at the forefront of my mind when recording, so that I can talk about things that are relevant and interesting to you. In my field we’d call that being learner-centred so I get why that is so important.

Why should we listen to the podcast?

There are a lot of reasons! Mainly I hope people will listen to Facilitating on Purpose to get new ideas and stay excited and engaged about designing and facilitating learning. The pandemic has been hard for so many people in so many ways. Burnout situations amongst people who teach/train/facilitate can be common. I hope the podcast can be a source of energy for people to help them get and stay inspired about their work. That’s what I hope for me too!

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