A lesson on podcasts turned quickly into a lesson about life, business, and taking measured risks.
On September 24th, 2015, Betty Folliard generously agreed to talk to a new MeetUp group I’m involved in to learn more about podcasting. I know Betty personally, and I asked her to be a guest speaker because she is a formidable woman in communications, and because much of her radio show for AM 950, A Woman’s Place, is heard through the podcasts. For now, take my word that Betty has a long history of accomplishment, and when you get to the end of this post you can read more about her and her show.
What I want you to take away from this post is the 4 Steps to Tackle the Unknown that Betty shared with us. It’s these 4 steps that framed the story of how she got into radio broadcasting when she’d never hosted a radio show. She revealed how the steps served her again and again in her career.
Dear reader – Do you want to start a new business? Have you dreamed of writing a book? Are you transitioning from a long-term job to find a career that you love? Do you want to travel nine months out of the year and change the world? Then say, “yes.” Take the leap. Get started now. You need only follow these steps straight to success.
Step One: Make a Plan
I’ve watched students, clients, and entrepreneurs struggle over their plans. Forget PowerPoints and plan templates spanning multiple pages. Betty shares the first step in her philosophy to tackle the unknown by first documenting exactly what you don’t know and what you intend to do about it. “Make a plan,” Betty says, “and keep it to one page. Use bullet points and keep it brief.” Betty did extensive research on how to make this radio show work for her audience, for her, and her family. She plotted out the components she’d need to have in place for a successful show; for example, a website, a point of view, a following, and guests.
Any professional writer will tell you that it takes a lot longer to write shorter pieces than longer ones, therefore, creating a one-page plan is an exercise in clarity and focus.
Step Two: Bring in the Experts
Embrace the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing and go find the people that do. When Betty suggested this step it was clear she was talking about far more than mentoring. Look for the experts in the field you’re entering; for example, she talked with many in the communications industry. Don’t stop there. Work through your plan document so you understand the ins and outs of each element–each bullet point.
If it’s still unclear to you, I’ll be explicit. Tackling a new challenge takes time, research, and dedication. It’s not a leap off a cliff but a leap from cliff to cliff. Make sure you know how far you need to jump and where you need to land. That’s what measured risk-taking is about.
Step Three: Exceed Expectations
Betty is not being trite with this suggestion. Of course, we all want to exceed expectations, yet wanting something and planning to strive for excellence are different things. At each milestone in her life, Betty shared, “People underestimated me.” She quickly silenced naysayers. I love the story she told about exceeding expectations with her radio show. Here’s how she did it.
AM 950 is talk radio and known as “The Progressive Voice of Minnesota.” The station has other radio shows hosted by women, so how, Betty wondered, would she position her show to stand out?
She started by thinking first of her audience – women. Her train of thought led her to the topics where women are pigeon-holed: health and wellness, lifestyle, and fashion. Then the fun began. She wanted to deliver content women wanted, not just what the industry thought they should want. Her planning, conversation, and discussion, transformed a moniker into a redefinition of A Woman’s Place in life, the media, and specifically, on the show.
For Betty and her production team, addressing traditional women’s issues would meet expectations–merely the threshold. “All issues are women’s issues,” Betty summed up. Thus, began her track record of success in communication.
Step Four: Leave A Legacy
If you’re going to leave a legacy, it should be in your one-page plan. This is the “aha” that I took away from Betty’s wisdom. She could have started a radio show, found spectacular success, and left it at that. Not Betty; her show is just the beginning. When she was planning Betty insisted her radio show be connected to other available media. How will the website interact with the show’s recordings? How will social media play a part in sharing the word and mission of the show? With the trend in on-demand entertainment, how can the show be recorded and available as podcasts?
Each question received serious consideration from Betty and her team so that the show will live on beyond the host. In fact, Betty shared her desire to find and mentor a successor. I’ve seen no one else, no one, articulate a vision for their legacy as I’ve heard from Betty Folliard.
[Author’s note: At the time of this post, Betty is traveling with a small group of women through Stanford University to study the economic status of women in India. I’d love to get a look at her one-page plan for her new venture, wouldn’t you?]
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About Betty Folliard:
“A Woman’s Place host Betty Folliard is a trailblazing woman of the world with an eclectic background whose career spans the arts, business, and the political arena. Betty is a leader in the women’s community who delivers intelligent, insightful conversations on a wide range of key topics in a straightforward, engaging way.
As an accomplished activist, civic leader, business owner, actor, director, nonprofit leader, mother and strong voice for women, Betty applies her sharp wit and compelling style to bring out the best in conversations about women.”
About A Woman’s Place:
Where conversation ignites change! A progressive radio platform focused on key issues of the day from a woman’s view. Listen to the podcasts.