A woman listening to a podcast on her headphones

Have you been hearing the word podcast a lot lately? Are people around you discussing the new podcasts they have been listening to, and you feel a bit out of the loop? We are here to end your FOMO by giving you all the lowdown on this relatively new, on-demand, audio format.

Before we start, did you know that the word ‘podcast’ was formed by merging two words iPod and broadcast? In 2004, journalist Ben Hammersley first used the word ‘podcasting’ in his article to refer to the rise of online radio. The word caught on and became the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2005.

So, what are podcasts?

A podcast is a digital audio file that you can download or stream on your computer or mobile device and listen to anytime, anywhere. Podcasts are usually audio programs comprising series of episodes that are uploaded periodically and listeners can track by subscribing to the shows. Most podcasts have a free subscription model, but there can be a paid service for a premium or additional content. There are various podcast players in the Indian market, from your big names like Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify to India’s very own podcasting company, IVM Podcasts.

Why all the noise now?

In the last few years, there has been a massive surge in the popularity of podcasts worldwide. As of June 2019, there are nearly 750,000 active podcasts in almost 100 languages. This phenomenal growth can be partly attributed to an increase in smartphone and digital penetration. According to Indian Podcast Listener statistics, in 2018 almost 70% of Indians listened to podcasts on their phones.

The diverse and informative content presented through conversational or storytelling formats is another reason driving podcast consumption. Along with the popular genres of business, comedy, news, and health, you can find podcasts on almost any topic imaginable and for all age groups. Want to learn more about a specific conspiracy theory or listen to a personal love story? Don’t worry, there will be a podcast to satiate your curiosity.

While the US is leading the podcast revolution, both in terms of producing high-quality content and gaining popularity among the masses, countries like India are also catching up to this new trend. In India, podcast listening is gaining traction, especially with the rise of podcasts in various regional languages like Tamil, Marathi, and more.

Now that you have the basic knowledge to be a part of podcast conversations, let’s find out why entrepreneurs like you should get on the podcast bandwagon.

1. Access in-depth learning

Podcasts can be a great learning and development tool for both professional and personal growth. You can deep-dive into topics and subjects you are passionate about. Or, you can expand your horizons and discover newer ones. Learn from industry experts and gain insights that would help you in your entrepreneurial journey. There are podcasts on leadership lessons, industry experts discussing trends, tips on increasing productivity, and many more. It’s good to start your podcast journey with successful and inspiring stories, so listen to How I Built This with Guy Raz. The podcast uncovers the journey behind some of the world’s famous companies such as Rolling Stone, Virgin, Instagram, etc. For the Indian perspective, Building it up with Bertelsmann, India’s first business podcast is a good choice. Featured among Apple’s Best Podcasts in 2018, the show answers various crucial questions related to entrepreneurship through conversations with Indian entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, you can never stop learning and podcasts can become your best, free tutor.

2. Optimise your time

Entrepreneurs need to be skilled at managing their time to maximise productivity. Podcasts can help optimise time by turning boring daily activities into interesting learning sessions. You can’t watch a YouTube video or read a book while driving to work, cooking or going for a walk. But you can definitely listen to a podcast. A recent survey found that most podcast consumers listened to podcasts while doing some form of activity. So, from now on, instead of sitting idle in the cab or daydreaming in the auto, stream a podcast. You can also plan ahead and download episodes for listening while traveling to work or getting ready in the morning.

3. Sharpen your listening skills

An entrepreneur needs to actively engage with various stakeholders including customers and team members that requires effective listening. In podcasts, you are listening to stories and information while trying to block out all other forms of distractions. By doing this you will find yourself immersing in the narrative and gradually becoming a part of the story. This process is not easy in the beginning, but the more you listen, the better you get. Apart from strengthening your listening prowess, podcasts can also make you better at processing information and being present in your interactions.

4. Unleash your imagination

Imagination is central to innovation. Entrepreneurs need to build an imaginative outlook to identify newer possibilities and opportunities. Imaginative people are also risk-takers and strong believers, the qualities you look for in a business owner. If you are struggling to let your imagination loose, try podcasts. The lack of visuals encourages listeners to use their imagination to paint the scenarios.

Though relatively new, podcasts are not showing any signs of slowing down soon. It is free, always available, covers a wide range of topics and genres, and leaves you inspired—what are you waiting for?

Stay hooked to QBUZZ India to find out what podcasts to listen to.

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