The first thing out of your mouth when you open the mic often determines how long someone will listen to you – or if they’re hearing you at all. Almost instantaneously, the Listener will either connect with you… or not. So here’s a tip that almost every air talent ignores:
MATCH THE MUSIC to automatically glue yourself to the Listener’s ear.
If the song is slow and quiet, but you come out loud and blasting words, that’s TOTALLY WRONG.
Fast song = upbeat delivery that matches that rhythm.
Slow song = “right in the pocket” delivery that matches that song’s pace.
Second level thought: Feel the Emotion of the song, and start right there, as if you’re into it.
From that beginning, you can go anywhere else you need to go. But DON’T start like you just threw your headphones on because the song was ending. If you sound like you were just texting or looking at your Facebook page one second ago, you won’t get the result you want.
The listener can feel when you’re engaged and in the moment… and when you’re not.
And remember that you CAN’T feel if the listener is engaged or not. Pull that person toward you by being a PART of what he/she is hearing first.
Being entertaining – which should be every air talent’s #1 goal – isn’t about punch lines. It’s about how you see the world.
George Carlin saw the world as a series of oddities worthy of comments. “A house is just a place where you keep your stuff… while you go get more stuff.”
Jerry Seinfeld sees the world analytically: “What is it with Grape Nuts? No grapes; no nuts.”
There’s a lot of buzz nowadays about “being authentic.” Some stations even state it as a concrete goal, but come nowhere near it when that mic opens. Here’s why:
Even if you think you’re being authentic, that isn’t determined by YOU. It’s determined by the Listener.
Actors stuck in soap operas, who would love to star in feature films but never get offered any, think they’re being authentic. But of course, they’re only ACTING authentic.
Great radio stations are different from just “radio stations where people work.” Great stations know who they are, who the listener is, and have air talent that competes with each other on who will have the best “moment” that day.
They also root for each other to have their own memorable moments, too. Being the best player on a team with only one or two good players – well, there’s no real joy in that. We should want to lift each other up and challenge each other to do really good radio. Every day.
The saying is that “Everyone has a story.”
That may be true, but the problem is that most people aren’t very good at TELLING it.
That’s why you have to EDIT them.
It’s Beginning > Middle > End.
What it should NOT be (but we hear way too often) is “Meandering” – Beginning > Middle that’s too long > Ending that’s predictable, or something being repeated that was said earlier in the story.
TAKE OUT what’s nonessential. When you eliminate unnecessary details and nebulous “side roads,” and you don’t try too hard to either make it “meaningful” or to somehow get to some punch line that just comes across as silly or insincere, you’ve left more room for Emotions. And that – the Emotional Core at the center of a story – is what impacts the listener.