“What are the best business podcasts that I can listen to to improve my English skills and to learn new vocabulary?”, asked one of my clients recently. As a podcast lover this is one of the best questions a client could ever ask me! And this is why I’m sharing my recommendations for seven business podcasts that I really like to listen to at the moment not only with my client, but also with my blog readers. Here are seven podcasts that will offer inspiration, deepen your knowledge on business topics and will help to improve your English language skills.
7 Business Podcasts For Inspiration & Language Skills
WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED original podcast
WorkLife is hosted by Adam Grant, a well-known organizational psychologist and author who discusses work-related topics. In this weekly podcast Adam Grant talks to thought leaders in different industries (e.g. Esther Perel, Cheryl Strayed) and gives you an insight into their minds and thinking. “You spend a quarter of your life at work. You should enjoy it!” is the motto Adam Grant lives and works by and this is also reflected in the fun and light style of his business podcast. Each episode is about 40 minutes long; the show is now in its third season.
Bonus (not only) for non-native speakers: Join the WorkLife Podcast Club on LinkedIn for weekly news, episode summaries and questions for discussion.
HBR IdeaCast is a conversational business podcast that is produced by the Harvard Business Review. The two hosts Alison and Curt talk weekly to leading (American) thinkers (professors, entrepreneurs and, of course, Oprah) in business and management. Topics include leadership, equality or digital transformation. The episodes are usually less than 30 minutes.
My favorite episode: Working parents, let go of the idea of balance
Bonus (not only) for non-native speakers: Read the full transcript of each episode on the HBR podcast website.
Creative Conversations is a podcast produced by the magazine Fast Company. The show explores the creative process by talking to innovative thinkers from creative industries such as film, TV and music. The episodes are about 40 minutes long and feature a mix of interviews, conversations and live recordings.
My favorite episode: Alan Yang’s secret to creativity? Push yourself to the point you want to quit
Bonus (not only) for non-native speakers: If you want to stay up-to-date on tech trends, work life and creativity, the Fast Company website should turn into your go-to-source.
Being Boss is a podcast specifically aimed at (female) entrepreneurs and freelancers. Whether you are just starting out or already have an established business, the two hosts Kathleen and Emily have tons of advice for you on such useful topics as social media marketing, productivity, goals or self-care.
My favorite episode: I really enjoyed the most recent episode “Being a creative” which helped me not only to rethink, but to get back to my creativity. And I LOVED the minisode 10 Minutes to Being Boss // How do I disconnect to do big picture business planning? This is the question that I have been asking myself for weeks now.
Bonus (not only) for non-native speakers: You can browse the more than 230 episodes by topic which makes it so much easier to find an episode that is just right for you.
Second Life is an interview podcast hosted by Who What Wear co-founder Hillary Kerr. With her guests she talks about fundamental career changes that may happen at any point in time. The guest list is pretty impressive: actress and producer Reese Witherspoon, founder and author Joy Cho of Oh Joy Studio or designer Justina Blakeney. There is a new episode every Monday and each episode is about 45 minutes long.
My favorite episode: The interview with Joy Cho. I first discovered Joy’s blog when we lived in the United States and have been following her journey ever since.
The Science of Social Media
The Buffer podcast The Science of Social Media explores current trends in social media marketing and business strategies. Since Buffer itself is a social media publishing and analytics tool, the podcast content is not really objective, but you can still get a lot out of it. The Buffer team looks at different social media platforms and talks about topics such as the following: Instagram’s secret algorithm, strategies for LinkedIn, tips for Facebook ads or how to unlock the power of Pinterest. The podcast airs weekly; each episode is only about 10 minutes long which makes it easy to squeeze in an episode here and there.
My favorite episode: What’s Next for Instagram? New Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out
StartUp is one of my favorite podcasts of all times! It is a Gimlet Media podcast produced by Alex Blumberg which chronicles the starting, running and eventually selling of Gimlet Media itself. Gimlet Media is a Brooklyn-based podcast production company which was founded in 2014 and was sold to Spotify in 2019. In season 1 of StartUp founder Alex Blumberg takes the listener along to pitches with investors, late night conversations with his wife, or meetings with potential partners. As a listener you feel all the highs and all the lows of starting, running and – in the last season – selling the company. And this is because of Alex Blumberg who is not only a great storyteller, but who doesn’t shy away from showing his emotions, his vulnerability, his doubts and anger.
For me StartUp is a masterpiece of podcast production and an absolute must-listen! Start with season 1. Then listen to single episodes that give you an update on what’s been going on at Gimlet. Finish with the last season “The Final Chapter”.
My favorite episode: Exit – the final episode of StartUp. I was bawling my eyes out and I’m still sad that this podcast is now history.
Bonus (not only) for future podcasters: Gimlet Academy, a five-episode series from podcast pioneer Alex Blumberg in collaboration with Spotify that introduces you to the art of audio story-telling.
More business podcasts for your podcast library
During my research for this blog post I came across a few business podcasts that are new to me and that I’ve now added to my podcast library. But I usually don’t subscribe to a new podcast right away. Before I hit the subscribe button, I download one (recent) episode that catches my attention. Then, I start listening to the beginning. After a couple of minutes I usually know whether this podcast is for me. Or not.
My decision depends on a mix of factors: Do I like the voice of the podcast host? Is the quality of the recording good enough? How long are single episodes (I usually don’t listen to shows that are longer than 60 minutes – I don’t have that much time!)? Are there any commercial breaks and how long are they? But most importantly: Do I learn anything knew?
For me the best podcast episodes
- force me to stop whatever I’m doing;
- make me take out my notebook or open my notes app;
- invite me to not only take notes but send me to new corners of the internet right away.
New business podcasts
- HRB Cold Call. This is the first episode I will listen to: Fortnite was a blockbuster for Epic Games, what’s the encore?
- Fast Company’s Fast Break was only launched in April 2020 and brings you positive news and inspiration amidst the Corona / COVID 19 noise. The first episode I will listen to is Rebecca Minkoff Leads from Home, Alton Brown’s Quarantine Quitchen and World Changing Ideas. I’m really excited about Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas which have become a staple discussion topic in my English coaching sessions in the past couple of years.
- Smart Passive Income podcast. I am going to start with Deborah Niemann’s Online Course Success Story (About Goats—Yes, Goats)
- Rise. Podcast with Rachel Hollis. How to cast a vision for the rest of 2020 – this is the episode I will start with.
- Lead to win with Michael Hyatt. In this coaching podcast I’m going to listen to How a business coach can help you now first.
And now I’m really curious: Which business podcasts – in English or in German – are you listening to on a regular basis? I love to learn about your personal favorites either here in the comments or on social media.
On a personal note
If you are looking for more podcast recommendations, you’ve come to the right place! You can find my own podcast “What to Watch, Read +Listen” here. The podcast episodes are mainly in English and they give you tons of starting points for your own journey into the English-speaking world. And yes, this includes podcast recommendations. More podcasts that I really like are summarized in this blog post. And here you can find a tutorial for my favorite podcast app for iOS.