Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words

| August 3, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Your Mom and Dad were right.  “Please” and “Thank you” will distinguish you, particularly in these coarse, troubled times.

And there are two more “Magic words” broadcasters and podcasters should use as often as possible: “You” and “Your.”

Speak second-person singular.

For decades, I’ve nagged…er, “reminded” broadcast talent I coach that “at any given moment, there may be hundreds or thousands of people listening to you; but they’re individuals, not an arena crowd.”

Radio is an intimate, one-to-one medium; and podcasting is even more personal, because listeners choose content in a more intentional way than they push dashboard AM/FM buttons. And because many podcast topics are specialty topics, high-affinity stuff. As a sportscaster I’ve coached who really gets-it said “we’re Fed-Exing it to their brains.”

Accordingly:

  • Never say “those of you” or “all of you.”There’s only one of me.  Say “you.”
  • And if you can say “your” your topic is probably high-relevance.

“I,” “me,” and “my” should never outnumber “you” and “your.”

Litmus Test for Relevance

If you’re having trouble stating what-this-hour/this-podcast-is-about in “you”/”your” terms, you might not have an engaging topic.  Who wants to listen to Mr. or Ms. “I,” “me,” “my?”

  • Example: “I’ll be talking about the fiscal impact of immigration.”

(Cue SFX: crickets)

  • Instead: “How much money are illegal immigrants taking out of YOUR pocket? More than you might realize, according to an expert you’ll meet next half-hour…”

Another example…

  • “This garbage disposal ban is something I want to talk about.”
  • Instead: “Should you be fined for installing — or replacing — your garbage disposal? Let’s talk about it!”

Try it.  You’ll like the results.

Stay safe.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice

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