I texted my husband as Kevin Smith began his keynote session on the main stage at Podcast Movement. This was his immediate reply: Let me guess he’s wearing a backwards baseball hat, probably Chicago Blackhawks hockey jersey.
And I laughed.
My husband is a smart and observant man. But Kevin Smith has also done a great job of branding himself…which probably wasn’t that difficult since he is super committed to just being himself.
Smith is the brains behind the popular podcast SModcast, and if you know anything at all about the movie Clerks he wrote and directed back in 1994, he is more than a little rough around the edges in terms of both vocabulary and content. However, as he shared his story of how his podcast was started and how it has grown over the years I found quite a few nuggets of inspiration (that didn’t require too much censoring for this site).
First, Smith reminds the audience that, “We are in the content generation business.” Even though he was speaking to an audience full of podcasters, this applies to speakers, writers, comedians, entrepreneurs and more. Whether we are looking for a new joke, a story to tell, and illustration to prove a point, or something relevant to share with our audience, inspiration is all around us. It is our job to see what is happening, put our unique spin on it, and create something new four our audience.
Then, he encourages us to take risks…to know that not everything we try will work out perfectly the first time…and to be okay with that. “There are only two paths – to Destruction or to Creation. Destruction is crowded but Creation takes a risk.” Don’t dwell on the negative – enough people are already doing that. Take a chance and create something new. And when things don’t work out the first time, get an inspiring cat poster like this one I made from Smith’s next quote, “Failure is just success training.”
Just keep going.
Anna Sale…the brains behind and the host of the podcast Death, Sex and Money…and another fabulous keynote speaker at Podcast Movement 2016. She presented 10 ways that creating a podcast is like having a baby and shared her parallel journey of becoming a mom and creating Death, Sex and Money. Of course, once again, I saw each one of her points relating to running a business, not just creating a podcast.
- It starts with an urge.
- Many factors have to align – a lot of which are out of your control.
- Your wish comes true…and it’s terrifying.
- You have to learn what makes it grow. Growth isn’t automatic.
- Your new baby is a bottomless pit of need.
- You have to ask for help.
- Pay attention to feedback.
- As it grows you clarify the values you want to amplify out into the world.
- It’s really fun!
- It changes as it grows…so grow with it!
Just typing these out as a list don’t begin to do justice to her presentation told with stories and pictures, but if you have owned your own business for any length of time I’m sure you see the crossover applications instantly.
Lesson #4 really resonates with me right now – I want to make healthy choices for my business (and for our podcast) and that is why I do things like go to conferences, read books and blogs, and meet with mentors who have already grown their businesses in the areas that I want to grow.
Another exciting thought is #8 – in the same way that I try to pass on certain values to my children, I have the opportunity to share the things (and principles) that I value with my employees, my clients, my business associates, and yes, our podcast listeners.
Which lessons from Anna Sale’s list do you relate to most right now in your own business?
Podcast Movement…a 3 year old conference for podcasters that drew 1600 people to Chicago a couple weeks ago. I am so glad I was able to be there. I went in fully prepared to learn things that I didn’t know I didn’t know. Even though we’ve been doing this for the last 68 weeks, Mitch and I both admit to doing a lot of “making stuff up as we go along.” Right away I realized that not only was I going to learn a lot about what we need to do to create a better podcast, but there were so many principles that translate into other areas of life and business.
Glynn Washington, host of Snap Judgment, was the opening keynote and he talked about the power of storytelling. “The best stories come from simple events.” We don’t have to wait to do something extraordinary to have a story to share. We just have to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary.
My favorite example that he shared was a powerful story told by Josh Healey. He could have said, “It was really hot so I took my nephew to the water park.” But he didn’t. Watch him tell this story. Take the journey with him. Go places emotionally you wouldn’t expect to go.
Want to hear another amazing Snap Judgment story told by Sonya Renee? It’s about hair.
“Story has the power to change.” How can remembering this help us in life and in business? Whether I am recording a podcast, MCing a wedding, leading a workshop, giving a seminar, or trying to teach my kids something important, being able to tell a compelling story can have a HUGE impact on what the audience hears…and whether or not any change takes place in their lives.
What stories do you have to share? Whose lives might you change with your story?