Want to be educated, inspired, humbled and entertained—all while listening to great music? The BBC radio series Desert Island Discs is simply great listening. It is also fruitful learning ground for anyone keen in the art and science of exceptional communication.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
I tend to be in my car a lot.
When I am, there is nothing, in my opinion, better than downloading a few podcasts of Desert Island Discs to engage me for an hour. (I have to confess, recently it’s even replacing my bed time reading!)
What makes Desert Island Discs so good?
Below are three reasons I think it’s a perfect place to study perfect communication skills—and be entertained while you’re doing so!—and three examples of phenomenal Desert Island Discs interviews.
Three Reasons Desert Island Discs is Such a Good Study Guide for Top-Class Communication
1. The Quality of the Presentation and Communication
I’m in the communications business, and Desert Island Discs stands out because it boasts both a great presenter (currently Kirsty Young) and many, many fantastic guests who virtually always prove themselves to be exceptional communicators.
I’ve just listened to the interview with Dame Judi Dench—I’ve laughed, cried and been awestruck all in 35 minutes!
2. Desert Island Discs is a Wonderful Escape
The premise of the programme is a well known person is “cast away to desert island”. They are required to choose eight discs to bring with them (they also bring with them the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, but that’s another story).
It’s been airing for over 75 years (they even referred to gramophones in the early days of broadcast) and we hear from a diverse spectrum of “castaways”—actors, musicians, artists, politicians, sports people, business people and everyone in between.
3. It is a Masterclass in Interviewing Skills
Kirsty Young is the current presenter of the show and she’s a great communicator in her own right.
She gives a masterclass in interviewing—excellent listening skills, empathy and interest.
Her vocal delivery is just wonderful, so pure, and for this alone it’s worth listening to the show. Her clarity, calm and resonant quality, all whilst retaining her Scottish accent. She is Britain’s favourite female radio voice, after all.
Young is genuinely interested in every “castaway” and she wants to get the very best from the interview.
She is also brave, in that she delves into peoples lives to ask the often difficult questions.
Three of the Best Desert Island Discs Interviews
1. Stephen Fry
2. Ed Sheeran
3. John Cleese
Still Want More Desert Island Discs?
Here is the link to the celebration of 75 years of Desert Island Discs.
It takes us through 75 years of history, politics, business, showbiz and sport. It’s wonderful to hear the different accents, the voices, music.
Now sit back, have a listen, and enjoy. (And also learn and put what you into practice, because as we like to say, presentation skills are a muscle that benefit from constant work.)
ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.
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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.