If you want to make contact with the listener instantly, you don’t talk about yourself first.
For some reason, this concept that I’ve been teaching for over twenty years gives people problems. Because in real life, it’s natural to talk to a friend by starting with yourself (“I saw this movie the other night…”), we assume that this is the way radio conversations should begin.
But that’s not very effective, because (1) often – most of the time, actually – the reaction is “So? What does that have to do with Me?” And (2) real-life conversations are face-to-face. Radio isn’t.
We all know that person that constantly talks about himself (or herself). That’s the one we tend to avoid at a party.
So what I’ve coached over the years is to either start with the Subject first, or start by referencing the Listener first in some way, THEN weigh in with your “take” on it, or tell your story.
Simple. But also a little counterintuitive. People simply don’t HEAR themselves doing it wrong. So let me try to help with a couple of examples:
The other day, I heard a personality kick off a break by saying, “We were driving home yesterday, and we went past the corner of Grand Avenue and Thomas; they’re doing some road construction there now.”
First it’s all about you, and then, instead of telling me what happened, you add “left brain” facts. These “cars on the train” are in the wrong order.
“They’re doing some construction work at Grand Avenue and Thomas. We went past it yesterday driving home…” Now the story can continue seamlessly, since “the data” has already been given. Putting yourself in as the second “slide” in the projector makes it easy to just roll on.
“You’ve probably seen the mess at Grand Avenue and Thomas. We drove past it yesterday on the way home…”
See how easy it is? My ears (as a listener) perk up because I’ve been referenced. Then, with no clutter, the break flows right into your perspective.
This is just basic sentence structure stuff, really.
Remember, you’re not paid by the joke. You’re not paid by the word. You’re paid by the CONNECTION.
This “You second” thing will help you connect IMMEDIATELY. Your story still gets told, but without that constant little “I am the center of universe” vibe.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.