Determine who the hangout is for
Is this podcast hangout for you and your podcast-loving friends? Perhaps this is a professional development activity or virtual "watercooler" time with old and new colleagues. Maybe it’s for you to connect with your love ones far away. Or a way for you to keep in touch with communities and organizations you’re a part of. Determining who the podcast hangout is for will help you figure out your group's purpose and what you might listen to.
Figure out what you’ll be listening to
Determine who’s curating
Picking what to listen to is one of the most creative parts of this experience! But first, figure out who’s going to curate the listening selection. Will this a collaborative excerise or will select people lead the curation effort?
Pick what you’ll be listening to
You can start with a topic you want to discuss and then curate a playlist of great episodes about that topic. Alternatively, if there are particular podcasts series or episodes you’re excited about, then go with it! We suggest that you pick topics or podcasts that are a little controversial to create stimulating conversation. And of course, we recommend Podyssey's playlist tool to help you curate your listening lists like this: https://podyssey.fm/list/podcast-episodes/id1251
To help you get started, we provided a library of podcasts playlists in the section below that you can pull from or use as inpiration.
Pick a meeting time and frequency
Determine frequency of your hangouts
How often will you be hosting the hangouts? Is this a one-time event or an ongoing podcast club like a book club? If this is a weekly activity, we recommend curating one or two episodes for up to 2 to 2.5 hours of listening time. For a monthly meeting, we recommend 4 to 6 hours of listening time. The rule of thumb is to remember to give people adequate time to listen to the podcasts.
Set time of hangout
For social hangouts with friends, we recommend after work, after dinner or weekends. For professional discussions with colleagues, we recommend around lunch time or happy hour time shortly after work hours.
Set length of hangout
A hangout can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours or more depending on the number of attendees, the length or the playlist or content, complexity of topic, and dynamics of your group. If you can't decide, then just start with one hour and then adjust future meeting times accordingly.
Sort out your meeting tools
Playlist and notetaking tool
Podyssey offers playlists to help you round up your episode listening list to send to attendees. We accomodate all podcast players regardless of which ones your attendees use. All they have to do is press "Open in Player" on an episode on Podyssey's website or mobile apps to listen on their preferred player or they can press "play" to listen on Podyssey. Additionally, attendees can save your playlist on their profiles and add notes to each episode to keep track of what they want to bring to the discussion. Here's an example of a playlist with notes: https://podyssey.fm/list/podcast-episodes/id394
Invite and registration tools
Figure out how you want to collect your RSVPs. We recommend Eventbrite, Facebook Groups, Meetup or good ol’ email.
Video call tools
For video calls, we recommend Whereby, Zoom or Google Hangouts. Whereby is great if you don’t want to force people to download an application or fiddle with access codes. It’s free for four or less people. Zoom is the best for realiability and large groups if you want to break out to smaller groups on the same call. However, the free version is only available for meetings no longer than 40 minutes. Google Hangouts is a great in-between solution. It’s free with unlimited meeting durations.
Tell us about your event
If your podcast hangout is open to the public, tell us about it! We'd love to feature it and help you get the word out. Submit your event here: https://forms.gle/YK7hxeCgErTMMNkA6
Start the podcast hangout!
Choose a facillator
It’s hangout time! First, determine out who’s going to be the facillator. This is the person who’s going give structure to the meeting, and ask prompting questions to keep the conversation going. If you have a large group over 8, you may want to consider splitting the group into two with separate facillators.
Break the ice by asking for podcast recommendations
To break the ice, take a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting to ask people what they’ve been listening too lately that they love. The facillator can take notes and round up the recommendations in a podcast playlist on Podyssey to share with everyone like this here: https://podyssey.fm/list/podcast-episodes/id1301 . You can even create an account for your club to organize the recommendations. Here’s an example of a club account: https://podyssey.fm/vanpbc
Start the podcast hangout
Now it’s time to get the discussion going. You can start off with asking attendees what resonated with them in the podcasts or episodes and go from there.
Take time to do a room check to give space for folks who might be shy a chance to speak. Prepare a handful of starter questions to keep the conversation going.
Follow up with attendees after the hangout
Send a follow-up email
After the meeting, promptly send a follow-up email with the playlist of podcast recommendations from the attendees. Here's an example: https://podyssey.fm/list/podcast-episodes/id1301 . If this is an ongoing event, let people know when the next meeting is and when to expect the listening list.
Connect on Podyssey for ongoing podcast recommendations
Your converation doesn't have to end after your meetup! Attendees can sign up for a Podyssey account to share and discuss their favorite podcasts and episodes with each other and Podyssey's larger community of podcast lovers. Join at https://podyssey.fm