6 min read

The Brains Behind The Podcast | Steve Vaughan

Get to know the host and producer of The Luxury of Choice Podcast


Steve-VaughanAs well as being the host in front of the mic, Steve Vaughan is also the brains behind The Luxury of Choice Podcast. We catch up with Steve to find out more about him, why he started the podcast, what his intentions were and what he’s learned so far.

Steve is one of the senior members of the george james ltd. training team. He’s our in-house expert on channel management and leadership, a fantastic sales trainer and he’s a darn good podcast host and producer too.

View Steve's Profile here...




Hi Steve! So we know you’re one of the trainers at george james ltd. but outside of work, what is it that you’re passionate about?

Basically, I'm a 61 year old geek! I've always been interested in new tech and photography, I’m passionate about music – in a big way – and I’m a long suffering Aston Villa supporter. My wife, Sam, has a wedding photography business that I help with and I dabble in radio broadcasting and podcast production. I keep myself busy!

How did you get into podcasting?

It’s a bit of a long story, but let me give you the condensed version. I have a friend called Neale James and Neale was a radio one DJ in the nineties. There’s a current series on Netflix which has a clip of Neale interviewing a very young Take That. Fast forward to today, Neale is now a wedding photographer and podcaster. He floated the idea of starting a podcast around photography, and I thought, 'I fancy trying that!' So, I dived into learning the ropes of podcasting and Sam and I launched a wedding photography podcast. It was as simple as that.

Additionally, I have a gig hosting a radio show for a station called Incapable Staircase. It’s a community radio station based in Wiltshire, and they offered me a slot. Every Monday at five o’clock, tune in to 'The Steve Vaughan Rock Show' – subtle plug there. While I'm not sure how many listeners I have, I absolutely love putting the show together.

It sounds like you have a lot of energy for radio and podcasts!

Certainly! The wedding podcast and the radio show taught me how to broadcast. When you’re live on the microphone you definitely can’t babble! You have to communicate effectively without filling the space excessively.

It’s even more difficult when you have guests on. You have to try and strike a balance between letting them share their story while gently steering them in the right direction, and sometimes politely cutting them off if they’re off on a tangent! When I interview people on the podcast, it's a mix of asking open questions to get them to talk about their life, their job, or interests but also a few closed questions to keep some control.

Hosting these shows has provided an unexpected bonus – and that’s to my role as a coach and trainer! Being a good listener, asking the right questions, guiding people to an answer are not just skills you need as a podcast host – but as a trainer and coach.

Where did the idea for The Luxury of Choice Podcast come from?

I believe it was a natural step to take, considering my passion for creating podcasts and hosting radio shows. Moreover, anyone who ventures into podcasting does so because they have something they think is important to share, and trust me, the training team at george james always has something to say!

From a business perspective, george james ltd have been developing a lot more content. Podcasts are just another form of content and I believe they work really well for sales and commercial people. Having been a salesman for many years, I clocked up many, many hours up and down the motorways of the UK and North America. That time in the car can feel unproductive… and monotonous. Increasingly, people are tuning in to podcasts when they’re driving and I think a conversational, easy-listening yet educational podcast like The Luxury of Choice is really useful resource for the type of people we train.


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It's an interesting name. Why did you call it “The Luxury of Choice”?

It’s a phrase that Jonathan [Director of george james ltd.] often uses. It means that you are in a fortunate enough position to be able to choose. As a sales person, the luxury of choice would mean that we are so good at our job that we’d have limitless opportunities – so many that we could choose which ones we want to work on. I think it's a unicorn. It is. It's exactly that. It's a sales unicorn.

I've never got there In 35 years of sales, I don't know anybody who has, but it doesn't mean we can't try!


“I think it's a unicorn. It is. It's exactly that. It's a sales unicorn.”


I’m sure you’d love people to find the sales unicorn. But, if we’re being a little more realistic, what do you hope listeners gain from tuning into The Luxury of Choice Podcast?

Primarily, I think I’d just like people to enjoy listening to the show – and look forward to when it comes out every 2 weeks. The podcast isn’t meant to be a replacement for training – and it’s certainly not – but hopefully, listeners walk away with some useful information. Perhaps they'll come away with an idea to implement in their next meeting, a thought about how they approach customers, or simply a better understanding of their role.

On the flipside, is there anything YOU think you’ve gained from hosting The Luxury of Choice?

From a podcasting standpoint, we try to make the podcast around 30-40 minutes. When you’re having a really interesting conversation, it’s amazing how quickly the time goes. In fact, I nearly lost track of time completely speaking to Debbie Airey the other week; I was so engrossed in our discussion. As a result, I'm constantly striving to strike the right balance between conveying the key topic and covering essential points while maintaining a conversational tone—nothing scripted or rehearsed.

As a tech nerd, I’m also consistently trying to produce a podcast that sounds good. It can be a struggle when your guests don’t have access to great microphones. Doing a regular podcast, I’m definitely improving my editing and producing skills. I’m always trying out new tools and spending time tweaking. Also, as my high frequency hearing is somewhat non-existent these days I do rely on the technology to make sure that it’s right. If it sounds too bright sometimes, let me know, because I won't!

Is there anything you’ve learned from any of your guests?

Definitely! All the guests have been really interesting, intelligent and insightful and most of them work in areas outside of my area of expertise so that means I’m constantly learning.

With regards to producing a podcast, the lesson that really sticks out for me was one I learned from interviewing Luke Evans [CEO of Heddway]. At the time of recording, I thought the interview with Luke Evans was too focussed on Luke’s back story and not enough about his business. On reflection, when I played it back, it was bang on. The way he so candidly speaks about his own personal journey and challenges with mental health is inspiring. It hopefully shows that it’s ok to talk about your struggles as well as your successes – which is often lost in the corporate world. That was a big learning curve for me; if someone has a story to tell, let them tell it!


“If someone has a story to tell, let them tell it!”


Who do you think would benefit from listening to the Luxury of Choice podcast?

We’re a niche company. We specifically train and coach people that work in the science and technology industry. We focus on this sector because it is so nuanced and we understand those nuances. All the training team have decades of experience in this marketplace and we’re passionate about it. So, the podcast was intended for this audience but particularly for those that work in sales.

While we started The Luxury of Choice as somewhat of a sales-focussed podcast, it’s already bigger than that. We’ve had guests on that are HR specialists, marketing experts and even someone that’s launching a business in mental health and fitness in the workplace. This means that it’s not just sales people that should be listening! But also, I would implore you to listen to episodes that don’t immediately seem relevant to your role. Understanding the responsibilities and struggles of others in your organisation can promote better teamwork, unity, problem solving, support and empathy.

Everyone loves to know what podcasts people listen to so come on, have you got any favourites?

Yeah, loads. How long have you got?!

One of my favourites is an American podcast called 99% invisible. It started as an architecture podcast but it’s evolved into more than that. It’s been described as being “about the difference between what you see and a designer sees, what you see and an architect sees, what you see and an engineer sees.”

I also like The Rest Is Politics. I’m not political but I like politics. And then finally, there's one by a guy called Tim Harford. He's an economist on the Financial Times but also a broadcaster. The podcast is called Cautionary Tales where he looks back at the events in history and what we can learn from those. I listened to one yesterday about an oil tanker that ran aground in the sixties called Torre Canyon. The Captain got tunnel vision and didn't think about the wider perspective.


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And of course, if you’re adding to your podcast list, don’t forget to subscribe to The Luxury of Choice!

Subscribe to the Luxury of Choice Podcast





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