How To Use Podcasts to Grow Your Leadership Influence

I was never a big talk radio guy, but for some reason, I have latched on to podcasts.

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In recent years, podcasts such as NPR and Serial have drawn folks into the podcasting world.

John Lee Dumas of shares how he got his start podcasting by listening to some of the first podcasts while driving.

The smartphone has made it easier than ever for us to consume knowledge and learn virtually any topic.

I discovered podcasts, and I haven’t looked back. I currently listen to between five and ten podcasts per week on a variety of subjects.

One of the things I love about podcasts is that you can listen to an Apple podcast followed by a Disney one and finish it up with expanding your leadership capacity. It is unbelievable what we have at our fingertips.

Here’s a sampling from my current podcast list:

What’s great about podcasting is that I can pass them on to friends or colleagues or embed them in blog posts. I can also be selective and pick episodes I want to listen to versus listening to the whole lot.

Recently, I have turned my parents on to listening to podcasts, and they love it (although their list isn’t as long as mine).

There are several podcasting apps out there, and I have tried most of them. Here are a few of the most popular apps.

My favorite podcast app…is Overcast!


Marco Arment, the creator of the app, provides some subtle upgrades to the app to enhance your listening experience.

The app is free to download from iOS App Store and comes with ads; however, they are subtle at the top of the listening window.

For $9.99 per year, you can become a premium (or ad-free) user. I paid to become a premium user because it goes towards supporting the development of the app. It's a nominal cost, and I don’t have to see the ads.

When you first open the app, you can create an account with Overcast that will enable you to access your podcasts across devices.

In the setting window, you can state whether you want to download or stream episodes, become a premium user, use a dark theme and so one. It's a simple menu scheme and easy to understand.



Now comes the fun part – discovering new podcasts and subscribing. If you know the name of the podcast already, you just type it in the search bar and up pops your podcast.

Let’s say I want to search for “Ask Pat”. I enter the name in the search bar and voila, there is his podcast.


If you rather search for a topic such as leadership or trail running, you can also search that way.

Let’s search for “trail running.” See the results below. I choose which one I want to subscribe to and hit the subscribe button.


The program automatically downloads the most recent episode to your device.

Trying out a podcast is a great way to test whether you like it or not. I do this frequently with a variety of subjects. Sometimes a podcast will stick and other times; I will unsubscribe quickly. No harm, no foul.

Some of the cool, subtle enhancements that Marco has put into the program include:

  • 30 sec rewind or fast forward
  • Smart Speed (removes silences in recording)
  • Change of speed (1x to 2x)


I usually listen to my podcasts around 1.15x to 1.25x – any more than that and some of the speakers start to sound like chipmunks. It gets tougher when you have a dialog between some hosts versus a monolog.

Ideally, choose the settings that best fit you and then experiment.

Why Podcasts are a great learning tool or environment?

Podcasts are a great tool for gathering information quickly on a variety of subjects. Each podcast offers a unique perspective on the subject. You could listen to three different productivity podcasts and hear three different perspectives. That's the beauty of podcasts.

One thing I have learned recently is that our unique experience could be someone’s “aha” moment.

I try to listen to podcasts that have direct applicability to either my day job (leadership, strategy, coaching, workplace), my side hustles or my volunteer roles.

Learning is no longer restricted to brick and mortar environments but happens on the go with whatever device we have in front of us.

If you want to grow in a particular area, I encourage you to check out podcasts. And the best part is they are free.

Where else can you get an education for free? The harder part will be how to take action on what you have learned.

[reminder]What podcasts are you listening to right now? [/reminder]

I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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