Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #7 – You SECOND


The most important part of any Content is how you begin it. There’s a Grand Canyon-sized gulf between “I love it when he shares stories about his life” (which is good) or “All he ever does is talk about himself” (which is bad…very bad). Like almost everything in radio, it’s all about the language you use.

If you want to engage the listener right from the get-go, take the words “I” and “me” and “my” out of your vocabulary in that opening sentence, and do one of these two things:

1. Start by referencing the Listener in some way, THEN talk about whatever it is or tell your story. Or…

2. Start with the Subject, THEN serve up your thoughts about it.

Subject or Listener first. You…SECOND.

Yes, this is different from real life, where we often begin by talking about ourselves. But that’s because in real life, we’re talking to friends, family, or acquaintances. It’s a little different in radio, because you have to assume that someone just hit the “scan” button and landed on your station—someone who doesn’t know you. If the perception is that you’re only capable of seeing the world in terms of how it affects you, that’s not going to be nearly as powerful as the “connective tissue” of putting the Subject first or referencing the Listener first. You want to “pull up a chair” for the listener, then reveal your thoughts.

For example, let’s use the Aaron Hernandez story, the former NFL star accused of orchestrating a murder…

  • “I was thinking about this Aaron Hernandez story…” is just you talking about you.
  • But “If you’ve been keeping up with that Aaron Hernandez story” is about ME (the listener). Now go on ahead and give me your “take” on it.
  • Or “The Aaron Hernandez story is getting stranger every day…” is about the Subject. Now that it’s “on the table,” tell me what you think about it.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know, but man, it works like a charm. And your show doesn’t sound like “Now I’d like to talk about me” every time you open the mike.

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

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