Updated: Aug 14
Don't you love those brilliant ideas that arrived while you're in the shower and you can't write them down!
The numbers show the fastest growing content online is podcasts. Listeners are tuning in by the millions. YouTube is currently the preferred platform for producers and audiences. It is super cool to have the option to listen or watch video podcasts. I'm a fan of audiobooks and podcasts so I have a bias. I love to do the housework or walk the dog with buds in my ears. I consume podcasts delivered by famous stars. These entertainers have turned their talents for performing to the interview format. They host other mega stars. True crime series capture the highest level of interest. I prefer a bit of humour tied up with advocacy and some growth and development.
So this new idea formed. I've put aside comparisons to these superstars and topic experts to step into a creation of my own. Other women I know have podcasts. I admire the discussions they generate for listeners. They educate and raise awareness in areas needing support. So it doesn’t seem impossible for me to give it a go.
I'm a believer in starting where you are. I haven't got far with projects when I kept my plans in my head. I prefer to learn as I go and figure out the steps as I get to them. That's not to say there isn't some vague strategy. I would rather enjoy what I was doing today than worry too much about next year.
I don't fancy delivering scripted programs myself. I never imagined I would remember my lines. I doubt my talent to deliver something pre-written and make it believable as if it were live.
In starting up I was hesitant to portray myself as any kind of expert despite all my training and experience. I'm sure that concern sounds familiar to some of you. The game I am playing is to support others to be seen and heard in the world. Of all the jobs I've held and roles I've played, I now understand this is what people need more than anything. My work of relational advocacy is a passion project. I am not accountable to an organisation or business for my productivity so I can let my creativity loose. It does not generate a financial reward but it does generate personal fulfilment.
The goal of the podcast is to have women known by others. There are 4 billion phenomenal women who care about wonderful things in this world. So often they do it quietly. When I spend time with some of them I am inspired to do better in my own world. I experience joy and love in their presence. I find it easy to establish relatedness around the similarities for women in our society. Hearing their perspective makes things available to me that I would not have been able to make up in my own head. Watching celebrities and reading what experts say is great, but is one dimensional. It does not give me a real authentic sense I can relate to myself.
Comparing ourselves to others is instinctual and part of the survival of humanity. The strive to be popular, included and safe is in us all. Some of us have a higher capacity to resist this phenomenon, but it is still common place. What I love about talking to the women in my life, is I can see myself in them. Together, we generate a conversation that is important to both our lives. It's together we can go beyond the small talk.
This is where the series of interviews was born. I make it a priority to catch up with other women because I know the deliciousness it brings me. I celebrate these women and want them to feel appreciated for who they are. I could buy them a bunch of flowers or write them a note telling them how awesome they are. That doesn't feel particularly special. What could I do that would be beyond anything they had done before?
I didn't know what I was going to ask them but what I was sure about was that the focus would be on the guests. They would be the stars in my modest videos and I would be there to support them to open up. It doesn't take much prompting for people to talk about their passions. We often have an awkward opening exchange while my guest are still conscious they are being recorded. There are moments when they worry how they look and what they're saying, and even trying to get it right. Pretty soon I can see them relax in their chair and use unguarded language in their answers. By this point, I do not have to ask probing questions. Before we start we chat about what is important to them so they are present to my interest.
In life when we have conversations we are very good at small talk. There are mountains of resources dedicated to be good at these types of exchanges. It is not easy for everybody to engage in small talk. We can learn to hold down brief introductory conversations with people. This is a valued trait. I've had more than enough of these interactions and I'm a little bit over it. I don't need an update on the weather because I'm here and I can see it. I know this bugs a lot of people because you tell me so, and yet we still do it.
We have comfortable topics that we know some things about. We may have had successful exchanges from these areas in the past. This is the safe place to stay in dialogue. This is where we can feel comfortable to be sat next to a stranger at dinner or in a classroom. My interest lies in what matters to people. When I ask that question, it's strange how often that throws people off. Do they not know or they don't want to say it out loud in case it sounds weird?
My friends who join me on the podcast are up to some pretty amazing stuff. I'm aware of some of it and as we speak I always find out more about each of them. We really don't know all that much about each other when you stop and think about it. The gift I give is to be curious and interested in what is important to everyone.
The response I have had to the requests to being interviewed has been fulfilling on its own. Women are surprised that I would take the time to listen and record what they have to say. A common response is “I'm not that interesting” or “I don't have anything controversial to say”. My experience is that they do have interesting things to say given the chance to speak. If we are encouraged to be authentic and vulnerable we can do so without too much worry. I certainly don't request they purposefully be controversial. Every time we share we run the risk someone won't like what we have to say. If we let this stop us, no one would ever say anything.
I am not looking for people to reveal uncomfortable or intimate details. I do not expect people to disclose anything they I'm not ready to. I do look to these women to share as the real humans that they are. People who tune in, and you as potential listeners, may be searching for entertainment. This podcast may not be as shiny, trendy or sleek as those at the top of the reels online. Those productions have teams and budgets for experts and graphic designers. I have recordings of zoom meetings and the repurposed lighting setup in my spare room. I use iMovie on my Mac. I have my social media and marketing skills developed through trial and error. I watch five-minute YouTube instructional clips. I beg your forgiveness for any lacking in quality. I hope that our message and intentions outweigh any distraction.
You have a rare chance to be with women as they explore a new area of themselves. They have an opportunity to have acknowledgement in a wider sense. You will see and hear where these women pause and reflect on life. They can better understand where they are huge contribution. We have a chance to create something in celebration of each other. You will find something special for yourself. Enjoy getting to know these inspiring members of our community.
Subscribe to Beyond the Small Talk on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2T_g0WRUtVBO_hv01aQlpg
Big love, Frances 💗