Chuck has been working in communications for almost 20 years and has a passion for internal communications. He’s currently in a role that spans communications and technology, as a Strategic Adviser at Social Chorus.
[3:22] Chuck tells us about his passion for internal communications and the importance of connecting employees with and inside organisations. His current role gives him a foot-hold in the internal communications world, and it’s given Chuck the opportunity to launch a new podcast, Culture, Comms & Cocktails.
Creating a Platform
[5:22] Seeking a way to create a platform to share his voice, Chuck realised his interest in podcasts like Freakonomics could hold the key. He liked the idea of sharing the views of other internal communicators too, and finding out the ‘hidden’ side of company life through their experiences.
[6:30] With his podcast ICology, Chuck challenged himself to build a platform to encourage other communicators to recognise their successes, share their missteps and celebrate the great work they are doing.
Starting Out in Podcasting
[7:20] Chuck describes his first steps into podcasting as a ‘cautionary tale’. He found the ‘how to’ advice on the internet overwhelming. He reached out for advice to Jay Baer, who told him to “start simple; start with what you have”, then over time, invest in more equipment and skills. That gave him the encouragement he needed to get going.
[8:45] The name ICology occurred to Chuck during a mistaken Google search. The likeness to the word ‘ecology’ became an inspiration for the purpose of the podcast – to be an ecosystem of communicators and a celebration of their ideas and achievements.
ICology Goes Global
[9:53] Measuring the success of a podcast is tricky, but Chuck was delighted to see people were listening from a variety of countries around the world, eventually reaching more than 100. Chuck points out that when you start sharing content, you lose control of it ‘in a fantastical way’! The great thing it, this means you’re able to spread good ideas around the world in a way that enables people to access and use them.
[12:20] Meeting ICology listeners from different countries made Chuck realise that producing a podcast means you become a part of the lives of the people who regularly listen to it.
Growing as a Podcast Host
[14:00] Feeling that he benefits from being associated with the podcast, Chuck points out that each episode was intended to be about his guest rather than himself. He started out by ‘cherry picking’ his friends and consciously developed his interviewing skills through his early episodes. He assures us that nobody really likes to listen to themselves when they start out, but it’s something you can, and should, get used to in order to improve.
[16:48] A huge benefit of ICology has been the chance it’s given Chuck to celebrate the world of internal communications and to make a bigger deal about the successes that would otherwise have been hidden. He’s particularly proud of an episode in which he interviewed UK-based internal comms expert, Rachel Miller, the day after the Brexit vote was announced.
[19:35] Chuck believes in minimal editing, but does enough to ensure the final episode would be something his guest would be proud of. He doesn’t see his podcast as journalism, but rather a way of telling people’s stories.
Podcasting for Internal Communications
[21:30] One of Chuck’s favourite in-house podcasts was described by its creator, Doug Magditch, in an ICology episode. The AT&T podcast featured employees simply talking about their working experience and was opened up to a public audience, with great success.
[23:33] The stories of employees are a great source of good internal communications content that can be repurposed in a number of ways. Chuck describes how audio content enables listeners to perceive an organisation in a totally different way. The fluency and cadence of the human voice provides a level of interest that enables podcasts to go deeper into topics.
Consider the Needs of Your Audience
[26:25] I asked Chuck if the fact listeners can tune into a podcast while multi-tasking is the key to their popularity. He wisely advises we consider the various needs of our intended audience, since he has listeners who sit at a desk to make notes while listening to ICology.
The Authenticity of Podcasting
[27:57] We talk about whether podcasting encourages a more ‘honest’ representation of your views, since some people adopt a certain ‘tone’ when they write. Chuck sees much of this authenticity lies in the value and beauty of live, unscripted conversation.
[30:20] Chuck shares some great tips for relaxing before you start recording content, to make sure your communication style is more natural and at ease.
Chuck’s Advice to a New In-house Podcaster
[31:30] If you’re thinking about starting a podcast in, or for, your business or place of work, Chuck’s advice is a great place to start:
- Decide how committed you are – podcasting is a commitment to regular content over a period of time, not just a few pieces of audio content.
- Think about the What and the Why – What do you plan to podcast about and why would that be of interest to employees or other listeners?
- Are you going to make the podcast public or private? There are pros and cons to both approaches. Chuck advises capturing the type of community content that inspires and entertains, and should be fine to share externally. However some companies find it helpful to provide operational content through a podcast, which would need to be kept private.
- Finally consider what you want to achieve through your podcast and the implications that will have over the style and content of your episodes.
[38:00] It’s great to see companies that want to champion their employees, and even small companies can do this. Chuck points out that, in a company of 100 people, interviewing everyone would provide two years of content. He stresses that everyone deserves an interview!
“There are so many stories inside your company yet to be told, and a podcast would be an amazing way to tell those stories.”
The Commitment of Podcasting
[40:54] The commitment and responsibility of podcasting is something that Chuck fully understands and he describes the effort and ‘habits’ needed to be able to consistently publish a weekly podcast. He’s currently publishing the Culture, Comms and Cocktails podcast and he’s planning to focus on bigger topics like the State of the Sector survey through ICology.
[43:00] Chuck talks about some of the other ideas and collaborative projects he’s working on for 2019 and the routine he’s developing in order to execute them, for the benefit of the internal communications community.
Using Social Media
[45:05] Chuck challenges us to consider the different uses of social media channels, compared to the content you may share in a conversation. He advocates using Twitter and LinkedIn to make connections with people and enjoy the possibilities to have a virtual conversation with a larger group of people. You can build great relationships within the ‘world’ of your profession through social media.
[48:55] Chuck ponders why London seems to have become such a hub for the internal communications and employee engagement conversation. He’s aiming to champion the thought leadership that exists in the US, to develop more of a global community around the professional discourse.
Being a Bigger Fish.
[50:55] The dilemma of being a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond was put to Chuck at the point he had to decide on which college to attend. Since then, he’s developed his own definition which includes sharing more of yourself in order to inspire and encourage those who want to grow.
You can connect with Chuck on LinkedIn or Twitter @ChuckGose
The ICology podcast is available here.