by Elyse Kane
Active listening is, in my opinion, one of the most important skills a podcast host can have. It is vital that the conversation flows and the interviewee, in this case, the mentor, explains any unknown terms or confusing concepts so the audience can have the best experience – and maximum understanding – possible. Active listening is defined as, “the ability to focus completely on a speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information and respond thoughtfully,” (indeed.com). This definition does a great job of covering all the bases and also implies how nuanced the skill is. I have to have constant attention on the mentor, making sure to absorb what they are saying and ask for clarification when needed. When the mentor is done talking, it is ideal to respond with an insight or question following a tangent off of what they were talking about, rather than proposing an entirely new topic. This ensures that the conversation is easy to follow. Providing insight into the topic they were discussing, though, and responding to their own insights means that I have to come up with questions on the spot, which I talked more about in my previous post. Coming up with questions on the spot also makes the conversation more personal, and I feel that it makes the experience more enjoyable for listeners when I come up with tailored questions, rather than using the same few for every mentor. Not only does this use my active listening skills, but it also uses my improvisation skills and the ability to think on my feet. Also, during the beginning of my podcast and before the conversation really gets going, I try to ask all the mentors, “What is one skill you think is important to develop for your area of work?” The answers have been varied, but one answer stood out to me: active listening. I never paid much attention to this concept before I started the podcast, but active listening is so important for so many different professions. When I propose my question and the mentor says active listening, they usually take a moment to explain why they gave that answer, and it’s been incredible to be able to identify the common thread throughout their answers, which is communication. Then, I follow up with my own experience with communication and active listening as it relates to the podcast. Its so interesting to see how the mentors and I can agree that it is important to hone this ability, even if the mentor’s field isn’t similar to podcasting.
If you are curious about the Meet Your Mentor podcast and want to learn more or listen to an episode, you can use this link for Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0BbxTRTiEjYKIuaJ2ArfX9
This link for Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mentor-project/id1486267030?ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Or this link for Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-mentor-project
Remember, you want to scroll down until you see podcasts titled “Meet Your Mentor: Firstname Lastname.” You can also find my podcast on The Mentor Project website. Simply click “Explore” and then “TMP Podcast.”