Hi guys,

I found your podcasts a couple of weeks ago on iTunes. Thank you for posting your archive. I'm sure your wisdom is timeless :) .

Rather than listen to each podcast every week, I've been able to download a selection that is relevant to my needs. On to the feedback.

In my small experience with multinational companies, there seems to be a significant lack of training non-executive managers how to manage. Your podcasts do a great job of raising awareness of the need and providing tools to fill the gap.

In each podcast I find confirmation of things I know or methods for doing things I do in a new way.

However, after listening to 4 podcasts (Training 9/18/2006, Coaching 8/29/2005 & 9/5/2005, Presenting with PowerPoint 9/18/2005), I think you are in danger of not getting your message to the audience in the most concise manner possible.

Do you really need 45 minutes in each podcast to say what you need to say? Why not try for a 20-30 minute podcast instead? For example, the first substantive point in your PowerPoint podcast came after 8 minutes. By minute 18, you were off on interesting tangents, but you had seemed to lose focus. I love presentations so I could follow you, but anyone who who fears them may not have been helped by the digressions.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. In all of your podcasts, there is an element of -- 'oh! and another thing.' It makes the podcast sound too improvised. How can you apply your thinking on presentations to your podcasts?

That's enough for now. I've made my main point. If this is useful, I can make more later.

Thank you for the podcasts and thank you for listening.

itilimp's picture
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Interesting point... the occassional digressions are part of the reason I really enjoy listening to manager tools podcasts. It doesn't feel like a lecture at university, but rather more like being invited to be part of a conversation between friends. On the occassions they have delivered short casts, I've almost felt short-changed! 40-45 minutes is my personal preference.

There is another podcast I listen to that is shorter and all about the content (different business area), but I can tell you that I've listened to far more casts from Mark and Mike than I have of this other person despite their archive being available!

regas14's picture
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You do raise an interesting point. I have on occassion found myself wishing that Mike & Mark would move on from their digressions into the more substantive, step-by-step discussion of the topic. However, there are other times when I find their improvised conversation really appealing and effective in building a sort of relationship with me - one that encourages me to participate in this community, listen to topics that I suspect I might not be able to apply directly in the immediate time frame, and encourage colleagues at different positions having different interests to come and experience MT.

I think it's a delicate balance. Without the bit of personality and familiarity infused by these tangents we might as well be reading a text book in my opinion.

I come for the tools I can apply to my daily effectiveness, but I invest a little of myself here because I know Mike and Mark are revealing a bit of themselves in their work.


mauzenne's picture
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Thanks all for the great feedback. I almost hesitate jumping in here because I'd hate to see the discussion end prematurely.

To address the original feedback ... I suspect we lose some listeners as a result of our style, but to be honest, at this point I don't see much changing. The "conversation" and improvising (yes, there is a lot) is what makes it fun for us. As soon as the process stops being fun, we'll stop doing it. I wish our style had universal appeal, but that's the great thing about podcasting specifically - there are so many choices out there!

As G.R. said, it's a delicate balance. Robert, your feedback is a great reminder that we need to be concious of that balance -- your feedback is greatly appreciated! I hope you keep listening, but understand completely if it isn't working for you!

Thanks again, everyone ... keep the feedback coming!


Justin's picture

I have to say, that I actually like the banter. Perhaps if my time were more limited or I just listened to the MT podcast to learn as much as possible without enjoying the trip I'd want it cut down to 30 minutes or less.

However, I usually take it with me to the gym or when I'm out running/walking... and having some personality and fun in it takes my mind off the pain and all that.

Every once in a while I grimace when they digress, but for the most part I find it pleasant listening.

Peter.westley's picture
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I can completely understand your point Robert; and I've come very close on a couple of accasions to giving the same feedback you've suggested - certainly that a couple of times (especially with the longer, split-in-two 'casts) there was barerly anything to actually act on, or do, by the end of the first cast and this was somewhat frustrating.

I'd perhaps suggest that a review of a split cast with the question in mind "is there something that listeners can actually do as a result of this partial cast?" would go some way to fixing that frustration for me.

On the other hand, I have a 50 minute commute and every second of 'cast is used well, banter, sidetracks, solid content and all!

cincibuckeyenut's picture

While I completely understand the perspective, I am on the other end of the spectrum. I love the banter and like MT more than other podcasts because of it. I think it would lose a lot without it.

MattJBeckwith's picture
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I totally agree with cincibuckeyenut. The banter is what helps the content stick, at least for me. I have a 70+ minute commute which gives me just the right amount of time to listen to M-T (and the other podcasts I listen to) and make some phone calls. The humor is appropriate and the flow is natural, which is why M-T is so easy to listen to.

danstratton's picture

I agree with Dave. If the content were solid streams, it would feel like drinking from a fire hose. I enjoy the opportunity to think about it during the sparkling reparte' and have a little time to think how it fits into my world. Keep the format just as it is.

rcmerino's picture

Thanks for all of the responses so far. After listening to the podcast on Feedback Revisited (10/10/2005), I realize that part of my previous post may not have been so useful. I will do a better job of offering feedback in future posts.

To be clear, I don't mind the banter and personality that Mark and Mike bring to their podcasts-- this is fine. But I don't know them personally. First and foremost, I'm interested in the content. When they tell relevant stories and examples that bring life to the point they're making, it gives me confidence that I should continue listening even if they occasionally go off on tangents.

Also note which podcasts I referred to. As I've listened to more recent podcasts, I've noticed an improvement in their delivery of the material. I hope to offer some 'better' feedback on those podcasts shortly.


MattJBeckwith's picture
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Dan, you get my vote for the analogy of the year award! Your quick post had me laughing hysterically! I will have the vision of "drinking from a fire hose" all day I'm sure.

steveaz26's picture
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I personally enjoy the style. The occasional digression and banter lends a personal touch. My preference for the length is 30-45 min. Regarding the split casts, I like the idea of having a distinct take away after the 1st one. The recent 'Large Meetings' cast did a good job at this. It was clearly centered around the set-up and pre-meeting greeting. My only suggestion would be to have more than 1 per week although I know the time constraints are tough.

XOLegato's picture

I personally enjoy the banter and conversational style of the podcasts; the repetition and restatement of the same idea play into, I think, Horstman's Law: "If you repeat something 7 times, half of your people will say they heard it once." I believe that by exploring each point thouroughly and giving direct examples I can come away from each cast with most of the concepts "hammered" into my long-term memory.

To be honest, I only started listening to the show about a month ago, but I felt compelled to follow the show through its entirety. I have been on a crazy listening-streak, and I've made it to February 06 now. It's actually kind of nice to be behind schedule, as I can listen to split casts one after another, or cover all 4 DISC types in succession.... as M&M advised not to :-p

It is hard to get through so many talkative shows, but the natural presentation lends itself to learning. Then again, I keep hearing Mark repeat the phrase, "You just said in 10 seconds what it took me 2 minutes to explain *Laugh*"

- *D* *I* s c

mauzenne's picture
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Thanks for the feedback that the more recent shows have been better (more on point) from your perspective.

Perhaps one note of interest ... in the beginning (June 2005), we modeled our "banter" a bit after many of the then-popular podcasts. Being new to the medium, it appeared to us that idle chit-chat was just how you did it! Well, there was one particular podcast (I believe one after I had just returned back from a trip to Italy), where we received enough "adjusting feedback" that we finally got it! Although we stray now and then, I certainly hope it's better than some of those old shows.

Interestingly enough, we never really *wanted* the 10 minutes of banter ... kind of our own little "podcast to Abilene" experience :-)

Thanks again everyone!