Topic Trees

Published July 9, 2020

One surefire way to have your podcast fail is to have no plan. Just because you consider yourself funny while hanging with your friends does not mean it translates to a dynamite podcast. The best hosts – both radio and podcast -- always have a plan, even if they sometimes suggest otherwise. Perhaps the best tool for show planning while also affording you the freedom to organically discuss a topic is the topic tree. It's a simple and intuitive concept. All topic trees start with a basic thesis statement, or point you'd like to convey. As an absurd example, let's say you believe 'candidate x' for office should campaign on the premise of free iPhones for all citizens. This statement sits at the top of our topic tree. From there, we create 'branch points' in support of our argument. These points shouldn't be long paragraphs, but rather key phrases or concepts that remind you in the moment of where you'd like to steer the conversation. Point 1 in support of our thesis: free iPhones would lead to a happier society. While recording your show, you now have the ability to glance at your topic tree, see the point you'd like to make, then organically speak to that point on your show. It won't sound rehearsed because you're not simply reading a paragraph from a card. Instead, you're using the topic tree to jog your memory before giving your thoughts in the moment. Each branch of the tree may also have its own branches to assist you in making your point (see below for why a happier society is a good thing). Ultimately, all branches tie back in support of our thesis statement.

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