“I’m not funny…” is the number one reason I hear for people trying to avoid standing in front of people and speaking. “I mean I can be funny when I’m with my friends, but I’m not funny on stage…”
There is no doubt about it, being funny is a great tool to connect with people and create a light uplifting enjoyable talk. But… the good news is you don’t have to “be funny”, to “be funny” for your audience.
You see, being funny is never where you start from. Being honest, telling your stories and creating a connection is where you start from. this is the key to engaging an audience. If it’s there, funny comes later.
Interestingly when I coached four of the presenters for the Next Radio Conference in September, only ONE of them stood out as being naturally funny, but ALL FOUR presentations had people laughing.
By using me as a coach for their talks, my clients are able to find the funny lines if they exist. More often than not the jokes appear like bubbles rising to the top once the speech is discussed, designed, written and rehearsed. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say: 90% of making someone laugh is in the delivery of a line. And the reaction of laughter, doesn’t come because you told a joke, it’s a reaction of surprise and familiarity in a story you told.
So rest assured, the pressure of being funny is felt by everyone, being funny isn’t the key to creating an engaging talk, and you will only know if there is funny in your talk once you’ve written it. Use a trusted friend, associate or coach to help you hear what it is you are trying to say, and if the funny stands out they’ll be able to find it for you.
Radio Industry Award Judging is in full flow, with both ARIA and SRA entries currently under the microscope. I’ve been really lucky to judge a few awards over the last couple of years and I am always struck by a couple of things that I thought would be useful to you when you’re deciding whether to trawl through your audio or “forget it this time”.
1. There are never as many entries as you think
Just like there are never as many texts into a radio studio as you think, there are never as many entries as you think. So you will always have a better chance of being nominated than you presume.
2. You never know who will be a judge
When else do you get industry people listening to you intently with the will for you to do well? Your next boss could be judging your category.
3. Never assume
The biggest mistake people make in editing their entry is assuming that the judges know what’s going on. Because you are on air every day, you assume they’ll have heard it.
But… The judges can’t judge you on what goes out on air every day, they can only judge you on your entry audio. Start from the point of view that the judges have never heard of your show, feature or the presenters, and include audio that sets out your stall at the beginning of the entry.
Good luck if you have entered anything this year. Remember getting a nomination is as good as winning: you get to go on the night and you’re in the programme.
If you want to know how to engage and build your difficult “youth audience” (those pesky under 25s) then Next Radio is the place to be: Monday 19th September.
This last couple of weeks I’ve been coaching some of the speakers lined up to do Next Radio. So, I have a sneaky heads up on some of the content on the day and there is a bit of a theme…
There will be people on stage speaking from hands on experience about how to actually use live streaming, how your business can adapt to the youth audience, how to work with You Tubers and what to be aware of when it comes to employing the next generation of radio professionals.
These are all things you will be able to take to work and put in to action on Tuesday 20th September. You can get the final tickets for Monday here.
I’ve been saying “Show Don’t Tell” in a lot of my sessions recently. It’s one of the fundamentals in “performing” your content and drawing in your listener.
The ideology I use is taught in novel writing. The lesson is that you give the reader the opportunity to add their imagination to the story. Instead of the author writing “She laughed nervously” – which tells the reader exactly what is going on, the ‘Show Don’t Tell’ version is “Her cheeks flushed as she laughed”.
A good author then allows you, as the reader, the space to put your thoughts and pictures into the book, to read betwen the lines, meaning you’re able to engage with the content at a personal level.
How then does this translate to presenting?
Often it’s how you go about explaining your content.
Imagine you are using an audio clip from an interview. You set it up by giving it context…
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…. Here’s what he said” <Play Clip>
At a basic level, you don’t need the “here’s what he said”. It is fine to say:
“Tom Odell was in yesterday and we asked him what he thought of the Euros…<play clip>”
One step further might get you to a more interesting place
“Up next is the new song from Tom Odell – He’s a big football fan, how’s he feeling about the Euros? <PAUSE FOR A BEAT> <Play clip>”
In an “On Stage” context you can also think about how you are using your slides to show what you are talking about rather than telling your audience what you are saying. You and I both know we shouldn’t write up bullet points on the powerpoint word for word, but when we get to it it’s difficult to find images. We’ve all done it: the bullet points find their way back in. Unfortunately it is a sure fire way to get your audience to glaze over.
Of all examples of the “Show Don’t Tell” technique in presenting content, my favourite has to be the first 60 seconds of this.