Perfecting Podcasts

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Perfecting Podcasts

USGBC has recently been focusing efforts on producing podcasts for all of you followers out there. We’re working extra hard to produce content that isn’t just focused on green building in general, but is really focused on the people behind our sustainability movement. I was able to take a minute to touch base with Rukesh Samarasekera who has been putting a lot of time and effort into our new podcast series: Changemakers@USGBC. Check out what he had to say below!

AH: Walk me through the steps of generating a podcast.

RS: At USGBC we have a multimedia team that talks through the vision for an individual podcast series. We want to make sure we’re clear on the overall intention so the team has a common understanding of why we’re creating it while giving individuals the autonomy to make it happen. Every series is different, but I can speak to the process of developing Changemakers@USGBC. It happened organically…I had an idea for a show, and was told to draft a proposal explaining the why, who, what, how, and when. Fortunately, we were looking to expand our multimedia to include podcasts, so the timing was just right. As a team we ideated and further refined the why, who, what, how, and when of the series.

AH: Why do we create them?

RS: We all have busy lives and podcasting allows you to listen on the go or while you’re doing something else. It doesn’t require your undivided attention. We often say, “Every story about green building is a story about people.” Changemakers@USGBC will go beyond the buildings and connect with the hearts and minds of the people behind the sustainability movement.

AH: What makes a good podcast?

RS: This is a tough one because everyone has their own definition of what’s “good.” I’m no podcasting pro but I can tell you what I like listening to. I like content that’s informs and inspires. I like it to be conversational. I like learning information that helps me make better life choices. If you could have at least two of these elements in a podcast I think it makes it good.

AH: What are some common mistakes when creating podcasts?

RS: We all make mistakes (and no experience is wasted if you learn from it) but instead of focusing on what not to do, here are seven things I try to do as much as possible:

  • Build support. Whether you’re working within an organization or creating a podcast on your own, you alone are not enough.
  • Test. Do you have enough battery power? Is all the equipment working? It’s always good to do a quick test.
  • Give yourself time, and track it. I’m definitely working on this. I know how long the interview is (it’s right on the recording), but how long did it take to book the interview? How long did it take to prepare (background research, constructing questions, setting up)? How long did it take to edit? How could you streamline the process? There are always exceptions but by tracking your time and being aware of how you could be more efficient, you’ll master your technique.
  • Plan. How many episodes are you going to release? How often? How many have you already recorded? Do you know who you would like to talk to? I’m not the best planner but this experience is making me think like one.
  • Make the person (or people) you’re talking to feel comfortable. Let him/her know how much you appreciate their time, be kind, and open with general questions.
  • Listen and allow the conversation to flow naturally. You may have a sheet of awesome questions, but you may not get to ask all of them. That’s okay. Pick a few you absolutely must ask. If you listen to what the person is actually saying you’ll be able to ask better questions and make the entire conversation more enjoyable.
  • Be “on.” What does that actually mean? From the moment you say hello, your job is to be confident, enthusiastic, and present. If you’re not conducting the interview in person make sure you’re in a space that won’t distract you.

AH: Why not just write an article recapping events or quotes from people?

RS: The human voice is like a fingerprint, it is unique and a window into a person’s soul. Unlike an article, this platform not only allows us to talk about someone, but it allows them to express their own identity in a way print alone cannot.

I think that one of the best things Rukesh brought up is “I like content that’s informs and inspires.” At USGBC I believe we are striving to constantly create content that informs and inspires our viewers, followers, and listeners.

Tune in to #USGBC’s new #podcast series: #ChangemakersUSGBC; we go beyond just #buildings. New episodes will be posted weekly. We’d love to know what you think. Leave a comment below or use #ChangemakersUSGBC on social media.

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