When you speak speak as to someone you love

A few years back, I watched a presentation by Tony Kahn, a legend in public radio, and an all around interesting guy. He gave us a lot of advice that day, but there were two things that stood out. One was that he greeted us by putting in his iPod earbuds. He said, “Isn’t that the universal greeting of all podcasters?” We laughed more than we expected.

The second, and this was the best piece of advice was about how he got his unique radio presence out of his voice. Tony said this, and I paraphrase:

When I speak, I speak as if I’m talking to someone I love very dearly, and I am telling them something of great importance. I want them to hear it from me, be it good or bad. And when you hear me, that’s what you hear: me telling someone I love something very important.

You have no idea how often I use that advice. In podcasts, in radio interviews, and most especially on stage and in front of the camera, I do my best when I remember Tony’s advice.

When you present to your audience, never say “you guys.” When you see your audience and if you know some of them, call them out by name. Point to them. Show people that you see them.

When you present to your unseen audience, remember that they’re listening to you quite often in a solo act. There is no “all of you.” There’s you and her. There’s you and me. There’s the two of us there.

It makes a universe of difference.




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