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Why You Want To Make Your Listener Forget

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Image Credit: Shaileshnanal

There is a primary reason most people seek entertainment. They want to escape reality. Help your listener make their escape by making them forget they are listening to a recording.

People want to forget about their troubles of the day. To get away, they watch movies, go to concerts, watch television, listen to radio and spend time with your podcast. People get wrapped up in another time, place and story. This makes them forget about their reality, even if it is only for a short time.

Take them to another place with your podcast by using stories. Make your storytelling so strong that their imaginations put your listener in another time and place. That’s what great storytelling is all about. That’s what great relationships are all about. It is engagement.

So, how do you make them forget? How do you engage and entertain to the point where your listener is so engrossed with your content that they forget about everything else? What are the steps to create a great story?

Take a few tips from movies and television. Tell compelling stories just like the movies.

Here are the five things you need to remember in order to create great tales for your podcast.

1. Have great characters

Every story has great characters. You may love them. You may hate them. Either way, you remember them, because they stir emotions within you.

The characters are well-defined. You feel like you know them. During the story, you find yourself either rooting for them or against them.

Podcasts create these characters in various ways. It may be the host that is the character. The host may tell stories about others. The people defined in the e-mail questions answered during the show could be the characters of the stories. You could take phone calls or voicemail questions from people. Their voice alone helps define their character. Live guests with colorful backgrounds are also a source for great characters.

“Billie Jo, single mother of two who works as a waitress in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make ends meet” is somebody you can begin to envision in your imagination. “She uses her kids to shoplift” completely changes your perception of her.

Great characters get your audience wrapped up in the story, so they forget they are listening to a recording.

 

2. Create some tension

All good stories have a plot. As we learned in composition class, great drama and tension create a solid plot. The protagonist must overcome the dilemma. Your listener begins to wonder what will happen next.

Podcasts that answer listener questions create some tension. The listener typically has a problem they need solved. This typically isn’t an Earth-shattering problem. However, it is a form of tension.

Great guests have usually overcome some obstacle to achieve their success. These obstacles create great tension in the story. Help your guests define that tension.

Tension in the story gets your audience wondering what will happen next. Once your listener gets focused on your story, they begin to forget about their reality. That’s what great stories are all about.

 

3. Use great details

Details make stories come to life. When you use vivid details, your listener can smell the air. They see the colors. They can hear the sounds. Your details put the listener in the moment.

You can tell a story in one of two ways.

The first way would have no details.

I stopped at a diner to grab some dinner.

That line does very little to stir the imagination and transport you to another time and place.

The second way incorporates vivid details.

Dinner would be the first meal I would have that day. I stepped into the roadside diner and shook off the snowy, December cold. The beat of the jukebox and bubbly chatter of the locals began to warm me even before I could take a seat at the barstooled counter to order my biscuits and gravy.

The detailed story begins to stir your imagination. You can feel the cold. You can hear the jukebox and crowd. You can almost smell the diner food. When those senses are activated, you begin to forget you’re listening to a recording.

 

4. Have a resolution

The resolution is the payoff to every great story. It is the climax to the movie plot. It is the “happily ever after.” The resolution puts the bow on the whole package.

Your resolution comes when you follow through with whatever you were hoping to make your audience feel. It could be the answer to the question. It could be the breakthrough success of your guest. You could wrap up the story with the punchline to the funny tale. Your resolution is where you solve the conflict and tension.

 

5. Me, not us

Talk to your audience one-on-one. Make your podcast personal by treating every listener as an individual. The more personal you get, the more engaged your listener will become.

Notice the tone of this writing. I’m talking directly to you. I’m helping you with your podcast. I’m not addressing “you guys.” I’m not talking to “all of you.” Sure, I’m writing for many. But when you read this, I’m writing for you and only you.

If I’m talking to you, you will in turn feel responsible to listen. If I’m talking to “all of you,” it becomes easier to assume somebody else will listen if you want to stay focused on something else. Engage by speaking one-on-one.

When you record your podcast, you need to create that wonderful theater of the mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or talking about gardening, put your audience in the moment. Transport them to another time and place.

Make your podcast entertaining by creating great stories using the five elements. Great stories have great characters. Engage your audience with some tension. Spark the imagination of your audience with vivid details. Wrap the story up with the resolution. Finally, speak to your listener with a one-on-one tone. Stories help your listener forget about their troubles of the day.

Try to incorporate stories in every podcast. Stories will help them escape reality. Make your listener forget they are listening to a recording.

6 Ways to Add the “Show” to Your “Business”

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Imagination. It is the wonderful result of recorded audio. When you listen to the radio, podcasts, audiobooks or other recorded audio, the imagination is in full motion. Your imagination belongs to you and you alone. You have full control. Your imagination is unlike any other.

Your imagination is used for your sole benefit. The characters and scenes created in your “Theater of the Mind” are exactly how you want them to look. The images are created in your mind in a way that gives you the greatest pleasure. It is all to benefit you.

The wonderful details in a story can stir the imagination in magical ways.

Video typically doesn’t stimulate the imagination the way audio does. When you see a car in a video, you know exactly what it looks like. If you and I both see a car in a video, we would both describe it in very similar ways. There is not much left to interpretation.

If I describe a cherry red 1968 Ford Mustang to you, I couldn’t possibly describe every detail. What does the interior look like? Where is it parked, or was it moving? Is there anybody in it? What kind of tires are on it? Hard top or convertible? There are many details to the story left to your interpretation.

Your imagination creates the car in a way that adds the most to your story and vision. That is the magic of recorded audio. Vivid details take your stories to another level of engagement that video cannot.

There are ways to include recorded production elements within your show that will enhance your listener’s imagination and experience. When you add recorded elements, the imagination of your listener will be further stimulated. You will help create elements within your listener’s “Theater of the Mind.”

Here are a few recorded elements you could easily add to your podcast to spice up the listening experience.

1. Intro/Outro

This is show biz. You produce your show to entertain just as much as inform. Your podcast is just as much “show” as it is “business.” Add some sizzle to your show.

A produced “intro” and “outro” for your podcast is an easy first step. The “intro” opens the show, as in “introduction.” The “outro” closes the show, similar to a conclusion. At a minimum, find a great piece of music that will open and close your show. You can find many sites on the internet that sell music clips for less than a few dollars.

 

2. Interviews

Guest interviews are a great way to add depth to your audio. A second voice on the show will stir the imagination. Listeners will wonder what your guest looks like. The stories told during the interview will create visions in the mind of your listener.

Listeners enjoy eavesdropping on other conversations more than listening to a lecture. By adding interviews to your show, you allow your listener this pleasure. Sure, you could provide the information yourself rather than going through all the work to secure, arrange and conduct the interview. If you are hoping to develop a relationship with your listener using content that will be engaging, go the extra step by including interviews within your podcast.

 

3. Listeners

Adding listener audio to your show is another way to juice up your podcast. When you simply read a listener e-mail, the question typically lacks the passion that would come from the listener. The inflection is a little different than the caller would use. The question is also asked in the same cadence, style and voice that you ask every other question.

When you add listener audio, a second dimension is added to the show. Though the caller isn’t actually there, the second voice almost creates a conversation. Your audience is now listening to a conversation rather than a monologue. The question will also be asked in a way unique to the caller.

Similar to the way interviews stimulate the listener’s imagination, callers can add to the “Theater of the Mind.

You don’t need to include the entire phone call. It is show biz. Use the part of the call that will most add to your show. If the call includes a bunch of details not relevant to the question or the show, feel free to edit those parts out of the call. As long as you are not changing the intention of the caller, or making it sound like they are saying something they didn’t say, editing the call is perfectly acceptable.

 

4. Audio Examples

When you make reference to a piece of audio, play a sample. If you are talking about an interview that Jimmy Johnson gave after a race, play a clip of that interview. Your listeners will be further engaged by the additional voice. Audio examples are just another way to add that additional level of production to your show.

Additional audio will take your listener to another place. An interview clip will transport your listener to the interview location. An old television clip with create memories of seeing the show. A sample of a classic speech may elicit visions of the orator. Use audio to enhance the listening experience.

 

5. Celebrity Endorsements

People like to have their decisions validated. That is why many companies hire celebrities to endorse their products. If Michael Jordan wears Hanes, it should be alright for me to wear Hanes as well. I don’t feel like I’m the only one doing it when I see Michael Jordan doing it.

You can use this concept to benefit your podcast. If you can get a well-known name in your area of expertise to record a quick endorsement for your show, that piece of audio will add an element of credibility to your podcast. Your listeners will feel like they are not alone in liking your show. They will be validated.

 

6. Sound Effects

Sound effects can easily enhance the imagination. You need to be careful that you don’t overuse sound effects. Too many effects can make your show sound amateur. However, a well-placed effect here and there can add to the delight of listening.

Adam Carolla has a producer who is responsible for adding sound effects to the show. If you haven’t spent time with Adam’s podcast, listen to one episode simply for the production elements. His content may not be your cup of tea. However, the production of the show must be admired.

The magic of recorded audio comes from the imagination. When you stir wonderful visions in the “Theater of the Mind” of your listener, you will truly begin to engage your audience. You can then begin to build meaningful relationships with your listeners and keep them coming back again and again. Use these ideas to add a little “show biz” to your podcast today.

Photo Credit: Bigstock

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