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Podcasts in Training

As learning and development professionals, we are always looking for new ways to deliver content to our learners. One approach to this challenge is to consider how you like to have content delivered. Podcasts have become a big part of the way many of us learn during our busy lives. In our conversation with Betty Dannewitz we get some great ideas about how to incorporate podcasts into your next training initiative.
podcasts for learning

As learning and development professionals, we are always looking for new ways to deliver content to our learners. One approach to this challenge is to consider how you like to have content delivered.

Podcasts are a great way to have content delivered. Many of us listen to daily news podcasts, enjoy stories or sports entertainment via podcasts, and even learn more about our own industry or other new and interesting things from our favorite podcasting service.

This week, Betty Dannewitz from If You Ask Betty joins us on our very own Train Like You Listen podcast to talk about how you can incorporate podcasts into your next training program.

Transcript of the Conversation with Betty Dannewitz on Podcasts in Training

Brian Washburn:  Welcome, everyone, to the Train Like You Listen podcast, a weekly podcast of all things learning & development in bite-sized chunks.  I’m Brian Washburn.  I’m the CEO and co-founder of a company called Endurance Learning and I’m here with Betty Dannewitz.  Betty, you are back!  How are you doing today?

Betty Dannewitz: I’m great.  How are you, Brian?

Brian Washburn: Doing well.  One of the things that you do for us with ATD Puget Sound, which I’m involved in, is you do your “If You Ask Betty” column.  How else – what else should people know about you before we get started?

Betty Dannewitz:  I feel like this is a dating panel.  Is that what is happening? No?  Ok… (CHUCKLING)

Brian Washburn:  (CHUCKLING)

Betty Dannewitz:  I like to make people laugh.  Typically I try to do that within the first 90 seconds, which you have proven I am still pretty good at.

Brian Washburn:  You do that very well, yep.

Betty Dannewitz:  And i’m just completely obsessed with the whole idea of helping people become better humans.  You know, and I think innovative technology, like augmented reality, virtual reality and even podcasting can take us a long way for that.

Podcasting 6-Word Introduction

Brian Washburn: Speaking of podcasting, today’s topic is using podcasts for professional development and as we like to do with all of our guests is bring out a 6-word introduction that helps to summarize who they are, kind of along the lines of this topic.  I would say “I like listening to smart people”.  How would you introduce yourself in exactly 6 words when we’re thinking of podcasts for learning?

Betty Dannewitz:  “Love hearing others’ thoughts and feelings.”

Brian Washburn:   That’s good.  That’s 6.

Betty Dannewitz: You counted ‘em…I know you did.

What makes a good podcast?

Brian Washburn: (CHUCKING) Alright.  Let’s get into our questions here. So, Betty, you actually train people on how to put together podcasts.  What, in your opinion, makes for a good podcast?

Betty Dannewitz:  Well, I get asked that question a lot and it’s very simple for me.  It’s all about content that’s interesting and relevant to me.  You know, people who have relatable voices and characters, those who use humor, those who provide deep insights.  So, for’s… is it interesting to me?  Am I engaged in it?  And is the person who is speaking…does their voice relate to me in some way?  So do I think of them and I think “oh, that sounds like the guy that was in my 9th grade history class”? Or “gosh he sounds just like my 12th grade math teacher”.  Like, I don’t know why i’m stuck in high school but that’s what’s happening.  Yeah, so those types of things…voices and stuff that sound great.  I’ll tell you one thing that does not make a good podcast and that is when people drone on and are monotone, I can’t handle it.

Brian Washburn:  Yeah, absolutely, I’ve started to listen to all sorts of podcasts.  You know, my beloved Buffalo Bills…I get to catch up on what sports reporters are talking about the Buffalo Bills.  I’ll listen to some New York Times or some NPR podcasts, and I’ve started to listen to some podcasts actually for my own professional development as well.  And that’s something I’ve taken on, just, personally, kind of, the initiative.

How can you use podcasts for learning & development?

Brian Washburn: It sounds like you’re actually using podcasts as part of your organization’s learning strategy.  Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Betty Dannewitz: Sure!  We have employed the idea of podcasts, or podcast, to deliver things like reinforcement messages from leadership.  We’ve also done it…used podcasting to tackle tough topics, like imposter syndrome.  We started, sort of, easing into it by using a podcast-like delivery method and – so what that means is like – so we were delivering scripted leadership professional development modules that allowed people to interact through the chat only.  So it was mostly like they were listening to a podcast and every now and then they could interact through the chat.  So some of you maybe say “well that’s just a virtual call”.  Well, sort of…but it’s scripted in a way that we make sure that there’s a specific speech or content that gets out there.  Those were topics like achievable goals, motivating and engaging your staff, and even time management was a great one too.

Brian Washburn:  That’s really cool.  So how have people reacted to use of podcast as part of the learning strategy?

Betty Dannewitz:  Favorably! Right? So it’s interesting how when you present a podcast to people there’s this entire community of podcast listeners that suddenly just come up out the woodwork and they want to talk about the other podcasts they listen to, so it’s a great way to learn more about other people based on the type of podcasts they suggest to you.

Brian Washburn:  And are they all created internally?  Are you using podcasts from external sources?

Betty Dannewitz:  Right now we’re just using internal podcasts.  We have suggested them as, sort of, resources.  But not really used them as a way to train people directly. 

Brian Washburn:  So there are lots of podcasts out there.  If you were to go outside of those that you’re creating internally, not all of them are of equal quality.  There are some really well – really highly produced podcasts out there.  There are some that are a little bit more low-budget and still it’s good quality content. 

Where do you find high-quality podcasts for learning & development?

Brian Washburn: Where do you find high-quality podcasts when you’re looking for something externally?

Betty Dannewitz:  So, like-minded people in a group tend to make really great recommendations, because they’re like-minded.  So, given that, I would say if you’re looking for great, high quality podcasts ask the people that you know.  Mention a podcast that you’ve listened to recently in a group conversation and then other people will just begin giving their favorites as recommendations.  I’ll tell you a super-fast story…I’ll try to do it in two sentences or less.  The first time I ever listened to a podcast was a friend of mine, who was in marketing, told me that she couldn’t stop listening to this Serial podcast and it was the first one…the first Serial podcast that they did.  And so I said “ok I don’t really like true-crime stuff but i’ll check it out”, and binged it and listened to it, I think,  in like 2 ½ days and I was hooked.  That was it. 

Brian Washburn:  And I’m similar, right?  I was “eh, podcasts….there’s lots of other things out there…there’s TedTalks, there’s books, there’s articles, why do i want something else, right?”  So just one more place to find information. What was it about Serial or… What is it about some of these others that hooked you?

Betty Dannewitz:  So Serial, I loved her voice…refer to the first question you asked me.  Loved her voice… I loved that she would tell where she was recording this, because sometimes she would be travelling and she would literally get in a closet and say that she was reporting it from the closet. I love that she tried to give just the facts but in the very end of the podcast she would let slip a bit what she really thought about the case.  And I really loved that they used snippets of real life interviews from other people, so you got not just her voice but other voices as well.  

Brian Washburn:  Yeah, I think that’s really, really helpful to have multiple voices so you can just hear different perspectives and just different sounds as well.  Betty, is there anything else before we wrap up the line of questioning about podcasts that you think is really important for people to really understand whether it’s in creating podcasts internally or using it as part of a learning strategy?

Betty Dannewitz:  Think about what speaks to you.  And then check it out with a smattering of other folks.  Say “hey, I’m thinking about this podcast for this particular use.  Do you have a few minutes to listen to it and see what you think?”  And I think that a lot of times the things that resonate with us will resonate with our audience.  But there’s nothing wrong with doing that quick double-check.

Get to Know Betty Dannewitz

Brian Washburn:  Absolutely.  Before we go let’s have people get to know you just a little bit more…either a podcast that you’re listening to or is there a book that you’re reading right now that other L&D folks should be listening to?

Betty Dannewitz: So I’m reading a book called “Streaking”… and I pause for effect there. 

Brian Washburn:  Yeah…Uh huh.

Betty Dannewitz:  (CHUCKLING)  It’s by Jeff and Jami Downs and it’s all about how to get consistent and stay consistent.  I recently came across it.  I was amazed by and I can’t seem to get enough of it, so…

Brian Washburn:  Who is someone in the L&D field that people should be following?

Betty Dannewitz:  You know I can’t just give you one name.  So I’m going to say a bunch of people’s names.  So first if you’re not following Keith Keating I don’t know why.  He speaks a lot about the future of work and the future of L&D.  He also has a podcast called Ahead of Tomorrow.  Nancy Duarte, who talks about presentations and the learning journey and the heroes’ journey and all that good stuff, that’s-  if you’re a visual designer and you like to design stories you should be following Nancy DuarteEvo Terra, who is like the Godfather of Podcasting…I really like to follow him.  He’s live on LinkedIn, Monday through Thursday at 10:00am eastern time.  And then – I hope I don’t butcher her name – Helen Papagiannis who, she’s not really in the field of L&D though – although neither is Evo – but she’s all about AR, she’s a big pioneer with Augmented Reality.  So those are the 4 folks that I would say if you’re not following them, you should be. 

Brian Washburn: I like that idea that there’s people that dovetail into the field.  They talk about things that are useful but they’re not necessarily straight-up L&D folks, because that’s honestly how we continue to advance in our craft is by searching outside of our own bubble.

Betty Dannewitz:  Absolutely.

Brian Washburn: Last question, any shameless plugs?

Betty Dannewitz:  Well, if you like Brian’s podcast try out the If You Ask Betty podcast.  It’s a podcast about all kinds of development topics for all kinds of learning professionals.  And – 

Brian Washburn: Where can people find it?

Betty Dannewitz:  They can find it on any podcast platform, wherever you listen to podcasts.  Or you can go to  And if you want to learn how to start your own learning podcast, I’ll be hosting two Training Live & Online sessions on podcasting for trainers in 2021, which is really not that far away.

Brian Washburn:  Do you have dates or any place where people can get more information on that?

Betty Dannewitz:  You can go to Training Magazine Live & Online –> certificates and they are going to be in April and August…so the “A” months.

Brian Washburn: Nice.  Nice. Betty, thank you so much for bestowing upon us some more information, this time about podcasts.  I really appreciate it.  Thank you everyone else for listening.  You can find Train Like You Listen on Spotify, on iHeartRadio, on iTunes, or anywhere where you get podcasts.  And if you like what you hear, go ahead and give us a rating.  That’s how other people find out about us.  Until next time, happy training!

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