There is a problem with how we listen to podcasts.
If you are like me, you listen to podcasts. The percentage of Americans 12+ who say they have listened to a podcast in the last month is now 21%, up from 17% last year, that's about 57 million Americans. Many of the programs I listen to are interview shows. I enjoy the format because expert guests share their wisdom with smart hosts.
By listening to the best business podcasts, I improve my business and use what I learn for my clients. But there is a problem. The information we hear can often go in one ear and out the other.
Admit it, you have listened to podcasts or nonfiction audio books, only to forget the bulk of what you heard afterward. We recall information by repeating and recording it. This is why we take notes during meetings and lectures.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” - Zig Ziglar.
Most people who listen to podcasts or audio books do so on their mobile device. Listening often occurs as we are driving, exercising or doing manual labor. It would be difficult to break out a pad of paper and a pen to jot down notes as you are running on a treadmill or vacuuming under your couch.
In order to get the most return from the time we spend consuming podcasts, we need to make an effort to record the best bits of information we can use for our businesses and lives. The following are a few suggestions on how best to do this.
Snapshot the timeline
All podcast player apps include a timeline. Take a screenshot of your phone as you are listening when you hear a pearl of wisdom. When you get back to the office, review your photos and skip back to the times in the show to revisit what was said. On an iPhone, push the home button and the power button at the same time to capture the screenshot. On most Android devices, press the volume down key and the power button at the same time. Even if you forget to return to the episode right away, you will when you discover the images on your phone later.
When I hear a part of the program that gives me an idea, I text it to myself. Using my iPhone headphones with the inline volume and microphone button, I hold the button down to page Siri. I say, “Text Dave Delaney” and then record a brief message. My transcribed message appears in my phone, so I can return to it later to plan how to use my new idea. There are multiple voice recognition apps to do the same on an Android device. Sorry, I’m clearly an iPhone user.
Write what you learn
It’s not just a matter of going back and listening again, you should be writing down the ideas. You can record what you learn in a personal journal. I like to share what I learn with the readers of my blog, so they, too, can use the information. I also do this as a courtesy to the host and guest of the podcast by linking back to them in the blog post. This lets them know I appreciate the time it took to produce the episode.
An example of this was on a recent episode of Erik J. Fisher’s "Beyond the To-Do List" podcast. Fisher interviewed author and entrepreneur Pat Flynn. Flynn just published his book, “Will It Fly? How To Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money.” During the conversation, Flynn provided many great tips, so I transcribed them into a blog post on my personal blog.
Do yourself a favor and write what you learn, privately or publicly. I promise you will retain the information better when you repeat it. Now, put what you learned to work in your life for the best results.
Looking for a new podcast to listen to? I have a collection of some of my favorite podcasts on Pinterest. I update the board from time to time, so subscribe. My friend, Scott Monty, also has a list in this handy Google Drive doc.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.