One of the benefits of doing this talent coaching thing for a long time is that you learn how to appraise talent quickly. After just a couple of coaching sessions, one thing always stands out: the person with the learner’s heart is going to get better. The person whose ego gets in the way of learning isn’t going to progress much unless that changes.
So which one are you? Are you open to suggestion, to change, to experimenting? You can still have your opinions, of course, but to have that be a closed circuit just means standing still. If nothing else, getting thoughts from a different perspective from someone you trust will make your decision-making quicker and more certain.
Lebron James has a coach. So does Tom Brady. So has every Olympic champion.
Overwhelmingly, especially in Music radio, News sounds like News – the facts. (Boring.) And Information from a print source SOUNDS like it’s being read.
Here’s how to eliminate that: Don’t marry the Information; marry the STORY.
Any idiot can read the facts. But it rarely sounds natural. It rarely sounds conversational. And “print words” poison any exchange.
What happened, or is likely to happen? How would it (or does it, or did it) make people FEEL? Only when you plug into the core Emotion of the story will it really connect with people.
I start there. Then I strip away anything that sounds too “official” when it’s said out loud.
People don’t connect with facts. They connect with Emotions. That’s why some “stories” aren’t interesting or compelling. They fill the air with words, but don’t say much.
Seems like I hear more people trying to put callers on the air these days, but fewer callers’ comments are very interesting… if they get any calls at all. I believe the fundamental reason for this is that the way they solicit caller input (or social media input) is flawed.
The easiest way to get response is first of all to make the solicitation sound off-the-cuff, instead of (1) seeming “needy,” or (2) sounding like the only reason you brought the Subject up was to get calls about it. That’s disingenuous.
As a listener, I’m not here to do the show FOR you. And your neediness is certainly not a reason for me to respond.
So try these…
- “If you want to share…” (then give the phone number or social media address)
- “If you’ve got a thought…”
- “If you see something I don’t…” or “Maybe you know something I don’t.” (These are the most powerful ones; but be careful not to overuse them.)
More casual invitation = more down-to-earth response.
Some coaching sessions are what I call “workshop” sessions, where instead of concentrating on one thing, we talk more about the bigger picture, and how to reach a higher level.
It’s not all pie in the sky, though. Even the best air talents need foundational reminders now and then. Returning to our overall vision clarifies things and takes us out of the “critique” space. Here’s an example, an excerpt from a recap of a recent session with Dave & Tristi, the fine morning team on 89.5 KTSY in Boise:
- Always have a solid ending in mind first. If you do, constructing the story will be far easier. Trying to tie a bunch of divergent facts together at the end is why writers and performers get stumped. Knowing that the Ending is going to resonate relaxes the whole writing (or composing in your head) process.
- An economy of words results in fewer overreactions, phone solicitations get easier and more natural-sounding, and you weed out phrases that sound like ‘liners.’ You don’t want to constrict yourself so much as just trim things down, so they make more impact.
Sessions like today’s, with two premium talents who are always receptive… well, that’s why I enjoy the “workshop” environment so much. (As opposed to the actual Shop classes in school, where the instructor always seemed to be missing a finger.)
There’s this great scene in the old Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie “The Sting.” Redford’s character is questioning about the scam they’re pulling on the bad guy (played by Robert Shaw), and asks, “Do you think it’ll work?” Newman’s character answers, “Relax, kid. We had him twenty years ago when he decided to BE somebody.”
This has actually become a microcosm of the world we’re living in. Everyone hungers to “BE something” even if it’s just for a few seconds. A Twitter posting, a picture that gets “liked” by some social media throng.
Let’s apply this to radio. In coaching over 1700 air talents, I’ve found that it’s always a challenge when someone says he or she wants to ‘be’ somebody (to the listener). While you can certainly strive for that, that’s the shallow end of the pool. The real aim should be to MEAN something to the listener. When you’re the person who weighs in on what’s relevant in my life consistently, that emotional connection IS the point.
You don’t just have ‘name value;’ you have actual value.