Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #303 – Doing the Wrong Thing Well

Believe it or not, there are some instances when a really good talent will foul the ball off his own shin.  It happens to baseball players, and it most assuredly happens to air talent.

Case in point, recently a wonderful talent spent time (a setup, followed by two phone calls) setting up a little factoid about how we really only use about 13% of the things we learned in school.

Right at the outset, there are several things wrong with this:

  1. It’s not particularly timely, which means it’s largely irrelevant, because it’s not top-of-mind TODAY.  (Where does this rank on the list of the things that are most important to your listener today, 150th? 250th?)
  2. It relies on using a percentage, which automatically makes it sound “left-brain” driven, as opposed to something more “right-brain” and visual and creative, and…

  1. Trying to get phone call response will inevitably lead to one decent reaction or story.  Any call that follows will basically be just the same story with a different example.

I call this “doing the wrong thing well.”  It sounded “professional,” and it got some reaction from the listeners (although it was limited).  But literally anyone on any station could have done it, so it doesn’t really give you any way to stand out, or to offer something unique.  So while it “ticks all the boxes” for filling some time, it’s not really very compelling.

As I told this talent in a coaching session afterwards, instead of doing the wrong thing well, let’s do the RIGHT thing really well.  By “right thing,” I mean something that the listener is already thinking about – something top of mind that you can share a perspective on.  Only then can you pique interest and reveal something about yourself in a compelling and unique way.


Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip

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