How you get into a subject is the first great skill. When you can get to the point easily and concisely, you have a better chance to get the listener to join you.
For years, people have been taught the “headline” mentality, which is a decent thing to keep in mind but that can also work against sounding conversational.
Keep these thoughts in mind…
- You have about twenty seconds to “tether” the subject to the listener. Don’t rush, but don’t waste words, either.
- Start with the Subject first, or start with the Listener first, instead of starting with yourself. Your show is about us, not just about you.
- You want the listener to be able “see” himself/herself in whatever situation you’re describing.
Refine this one skill and you’ll have a lot fewer ‘swings and misses’ with your Content.
It’s a curious thing. A few understand it, but most do not.
And before I point any finger let me just confess that I didn’t understand it either coming from a background in mainstream radio. I didn’t really understand what our format is all about.
Like many today I thought the format was about the music we play, the deejays, and doing radio stuff. After all, that’s radio, right? I had to undergo a process of learning that our format is about something much more important.
The thing I work with on the most with practically everyone I coach is Content. It’s difficult to know what works, because you can’t count on accurate feedback from the phone lines. So here’s the simplest way I can explain it:
Anything you have in common with the listener that leads to some sort of emotional “reveal” is gold.
Now read that again. No prep sheet item, no social media posting that lacks those two key ingredients – what you have IN COMMON with the listener, and an Emotion being revealed – will work as well without them.
We can all remember the first time someone said, “I love you.” (We can also painfully remember when someone didn’t respond that way).
We are created to be known. From the early playground experiences of “Mommy, mommy, look at me,” to the moment you discovered the pretty girl knew your name.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”Timothy Keller
In a recent session, I had to deal with a member of a morning show trying a little too hard. This is something everyone needs to learn, and should revisit periodically if it “drifts” a bit. Here’s what I had to say to him…
Today I played you two breaks. The first one was your congratulating a contest winner, and we heard the natural enthusiasm that goes with that. The second one was a more intimate thought, but you “milked it” a bit by being overly sincere.
Remember, you want to give yourself to the words and trust them, delivering them conversationally. You’re just telling a friend, not ‘selling’ a thought.
It’s easy to fall back into “deejay” delivery, but we’re better when we’re just people.