Recording “The Tangle”

I first had the idea of a podcast for trainers years ago.

I love podcasts, and audio in general (I’m always listening to the radio), and as someone who is passionate about learning and development, I found it frustrating that there was so little quality audio content for the profession.

At the time I was listening a lot to the Manager Tools podcast, a really useful resource for anyone in a management role that offers very detailed breakdown of quite small skills and behaviours. This podcast helped transform my own management performance, and I thought a similar concept could be applied to the learning and development field.

My initial idea was to get together with two other people to create a fun dynamic of three people discussing L&D matters, often with a fourth person as a guest. The format would be a very detailed (but fun) discussion about specific training techniques and theories.

This didn’t work.

It still surprises me today that a lot of people don’t want to spend their lives creating podcasts about training.

A couple of years later I was having dinner with Jon Kersey in an Italian restaurant in Brussels (the Barco Blu, on my recommendation we both had the trio of pastas) and on a crazy whim, I decided to ask if he’d be interested in being interviewed for a podcast I was trying to get off the ground. He agreed, and that was that. We finished our meal, expressing particular appreciation for the deliciously cheesy penne pasta that sat between the spinach cannelloni and the meat lasagna.

I wanted to try out the idea of a detailed discussion on specifics, and Jon had a simple energiser that seemed like it would be a useful proof of concept.

We recorded “The Tangle” a couple of weeks later over Skype – this was a quick and easy way to inject some energy and extract some key learning concepts (he actually didn’t have a name for it until I made him think of one for the podcast).

I really enjoyed the recording process and when I listened back to the end product I was convinced that the concept would work. The audio quality wasn’t good enough (I had made a mistake in recording both channels using the same primitive software which made it difficult to edit), but I felt the principle was strong and it would be the sort of thing I’d like, so I hoped others would too.

On reflection, it wasn’t quite right. We spent too much time on what is really just a simple activity.

As I recorded and released more episodes, it became obvious that the audience responded better to the deeper discussions rather the simple “how to …” activities that they could just as easily get from a book or a quick Google search. I’m very grateful to Garry Platt in particular for his support and contributions in helping to develop the podcast.

But with “The Tangle”, flawed as it is, I had made a start!


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