By Holland Cooke
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.”
- 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…”
- “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.
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