The secrets on becoming a great audio-visual presenter
To become a great radio and television presenter, you need to understand what it takes to be that great presenter that you dream to be. Bring your shows to life with these essential tips to inspire your listeners for awe-inspiring shows.
No one wants to listen to a boring person, because they want to get factual information with that assurance from a lovely and mutual presenter, not that selfish and unfriendly presenter. The last thing anyone wants to hear on the radio is a dull personality. Instead, you should paint pictures with words to captivate your audience. Here are few tips in no particular order, our top innovative ways to become a great radio presenter.
• Don’t be boring.
Who wants to listen to a boring person? The number 1 secret to becoming a great radio presenter is to have a unique voice and perspective that sets you apart from the crowd. There’s enough mediocrity in the world and you shouldn’t be happy settling for being just another radio presenter. The best radio presenters can make even the most boring topics interesting through just their enthusiasm and ability to offer a new perspective. Wear your passions on your sleeve and have fun with what you’re doing and your audience should have fun too.
• Air check your shows.
No matter how well you think a show can go, there’s always room for improvement because you can’t be the one to tell if the show went well or not, your audience are your mirror, to tell you if you have done a good job or not. If you slipped up and want to figure out how to avoid it in the future, or perhaps something went really well and you want to replicate it for future shows, all you need to do is to listen and do a playback of the broadcast recordings. This is a simple but effective way of addressing issues before they become major problems.
• Make your listeners feel special.
Despite a lot of talk about building communities, making people part of a greater whole, etc. the greatest thing that your listeners really want is to feel special when they are listening to your broadcasts. Take this as an assignment, try to listen to your favourite presenter and take note on how they address their audience. Most times, they really do not have that much time to address their audience to the level that they wanted, based on the limited airtime they have to be on air. They address you. The possible chances are, without realising it, this is one of the reasons you chose to listen to them. Personal address and mutual communication towards your listeners helps to single them out and give them a feeling of recognition and companionship, so ensure that you always address the audience as a single person rather than taking them all like a general sampling as a whole.
• Keep cool at all times.
The world of live broadcasting is really unpredictable, anything can happen which could make you slip or derail one of your shows; it could come from an angry caller on the show, technical difficulties, guests being uncooperative or not showing up. In situations like this, it is very important to always think of the reputation of your station being a professional environment and learn to behave appropriately. Do not freak out so easily. Do not abandon all hope. Learn to be a fast thinker on how to settle that matter without making it get through to you, problem are not meant to be pondered on, they are meant to be solved. You are not the only one who is affected in these situations, always remember that everyone else at the station may start to panic as well, so it is your job to keep calm and reassure everyone in the station at that moment of difficulty that everything is under control. If you can all stay composed you will be better equipped to solve any problem.
• Do your research.
In this internet era, people live to call others out. So you need to avoid being that “next week’s big meme” by always being as accurate as possible with any topic or information you are giving out, otherwise there will be a horde of people who will always be waiting to dismiss and savage you immediately for what could have been an honest mistake. And that is the best case scenario.
As such; always do your research. It is your job to inform the heterogeneous audience and not spread false information, whether intentional or not, so if you are making consistent obvious mistakes and getting to give wrong facts whenever you are on air, it is going to destroy your audience’s trust in your ability as a presenter. You will also look lazy and unprofessional to them.
Making your research is way beyond just skimming through wikipedia for information; it is actually a great resource for information but remember that anyone can edit articles, some of them are as less than reliable. If people can recognise you’ve done the bare minimum they may look elsewhere for someone is more serious with their job as presenter and more knowledgeable or engaging than you are. Dedication to your work can be very endearing to your audiences, so if you are going to be sourcing for information on Wikipedia, check out the sources at the bottom of the page, which often link to more in-depth of the posted articles, to enable you to step up and source more on your research.
• Engage With Your Radio Station.
Back in the day, radio presenters used to stroll in, broadcast their show, then stroll out – nowadays this isn’t good enough, it looks like you don’t care about the station. You need to engage with your station; guest and contribute for other’s shows, mention them in your own broadcasts and maintain good working relationships with your coworkers. Solidarity within your station makes it more of a community for you, your coworkers and your audience. Listeners will engage for longer if they feel like part of a greater whole.
• Always Pre-Read Scripts.
Unprofessional is not a good look. While the occasional mistake can be brushed aside, constantly messing up makes you look bad and sometimes land you in hot water. For recent examples of this, an MSNBC presenter recently caused controversy when mispronouncing the name of the Los Angeles Lakers.
If you want to avoid mistakes like these, read your scripts beforehand and rehearse them, otherwise you may make a fool of yourself.
• Don’t be prejudiced.
A lot of people might have build careers out of their controversial self, offensive and edgy way, and maybe you can too, but it’s best to know where to draw the line. Your behaviour as a presenter doesn’t just affect you; you’re representing the entire station every time you’re on air. Presenting yourself as being prejudiced or bigoted, even in the name of a joke, makes you more trouble than you’re worth to the station.
As well as that, a reputation of intolerance is going to follow you to any other station you join. Audiences are going to remember you as ‘that guy’, and they’re not going to forget any time soon. So just be polite and help all of your listeners feel welcome to your shows.
• Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Majority do think, that knowing your job mean that it start and end in the studio, but honestly that is not true. Being a great radio or television presenter means there are always something to do; it could be either paperwork, arranging and hospitality of guests, working with producers and many more, it is an endless task beyond just mounting the microphone and talking alone. Trying to juggle too many things at the same time can be very disastrous if you can not designate responsibilities to others who are around you and take the ones that you can handle even in your multi-tasked mode, so it is good to prioritise your tasks and be well prepared in advance for every show to come. Come up with a schedule which is suitable for you to follow;
Prioritise the most important works first, such as writing scripts, going over shows and meeting with producers, rehearsing well in preparation for the show, etc. and any extra paperwork or follow up such as contacting guests for future broadcasts can be done after the show for that day is completed.
Breaking your day up into scheduled time and planning ahead will allow you to concentrate more on each activity which you are assigned to and can also help you to make the most of them.
• Never forget your roots.
For your information, authenticity is very appealing to audiences. Part of being an authentic presenter is identified by staying true to your roots, even if you are on a worldwide level based on your professional achievement. Have you seen someone who allows fame get to their head and that change their entity as a person who they ought to be? Instead, the pride will make them lose their fanbase. So, staying grounded, maintaining a humble attitude and leveled perspective will get you more listeners than acting like a prideful jerk. No matter what reputation you attain, you started as a nobody, just like everyone else does, so try to still remember your origin and be that person that the grassroot can communicate with.
• Don’t make yourself too seriously.
Do not try to make yourself too serious, this could make your audience think that you are pretentious, full of yourself, pompous and arrogant as the case may be. Does these qualities describe your true self and professionalism?
They should not. If you want to be a great radio or television presenter, you have to be likeable, jovial, friendly, accommodating and nothing screams unlikable like taking yourself way too serious like a military personnel. Having confidence and dignity is fine, but if you are unable to relate, take a joke and act snobby at the slightest disagreement from anyone, both in the station and even your callers, you are going to push your audiences away, becoming a beast to work with, and probably come across as more than a little ridiculous person. Learn to laugh along with people and do not always take criticism personally or pick offense at every slight take on matters.
• Be professional and punctual.
The beauty of broadcast is that you are heard, and if it is audio-visual, you are seen as well. So even if the camera would not view you to the feet, that does not encourage you to dress awful to the station and make the seen part of you look official, or for those on the radio broadcast who can’t be seen, this does not mean that you should come to the office in your pyjamas and slippers. Remember that we are in a century whereby even radio station are viewed live on social media platforms.
Dress nicely, relax yourself before the show, always being on time or earlier and acting professionally puts faith in others that you know what you are doing and this could serve as an example that can choose to follow. Run your station like clockwork, reliable and trustworthy with all qualities.
• Learn to promote fellow presenters.
When Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw did his first show, nearly every other presenter came by to show their support. Not only was it a lovely warm welcome, it showed that they care.
Building working relationships is a vital key to working in the broadcast industry. The other presenters, producers and assistants are your support network, the people you can turn to for advice and honest feedback for reflection on how to do better and know your flaws, so appreciate everything they contribute to your shows.
When you show support and encouragement to other presenters and production crew members, they will do the same for you as well. Cross-promotion on this level can be great for bringing new listeners to your shows who may have heard of you but not taken a shot yet. A shout out from a presenter they trust can be just what they needed to take a chance on your content.
• Be community focused.
To be a great radio presenter, you need to keep your ear to the ground and stay in touch with your community. Add that personal touch by demonstrating genuine care and interest for your audience. Get to know them on an individual level by holding events where you can interact with them personally, speak to them when you’re out at the pub, anything to build your investment in your audience. Building this kind of relationship with your listeners helps you to tailor your content to their interests and improves your ability to engage directly with their needs.
• Know your station more.
It’s important to be friendly with everyone at your station, so you’re kept in the loop and cultivate a pleasant work environment for everyone. No matter if it’s commercial, sales, or producers, try to put in face time with all the people involved in making shows on the station and show your appreciation for their hard work, without them your show wouldn’t be possible!
• Learn useful new skills
As brilliant a presenter as you may be, you’re never going to know everything about radio. Take every day at your station as an opportunity to learn new skills and forge bonds with your coworkers. It doesn’t matter what your role is, try to find some time to sit in with other departments in the station and learn about what they do and how they do it. Who knows? In a pinch, the skills you learn could come in handy.
• Share nuggets of your life on-air if required.
Howard Stern, famous radio and tv personality, shares every aspect of his life with his audience. That’s not to say you have to, but sprinkling your own personal stories in your shows gives them flavour and makes them feel real and engaging for your listeners.
• Paint pictures with words
Radio is unique, it’s the only medium where you paint pictures with words, presenting boundless possibilities that are only limited to the listener’s imagination. Bring your shows to life with powerful storytelling to engage and inspire your listeners. Develop this skill in your everyday life by absorbing a variety of content, not just radio; watch TV, read books, play video games, observe the dynamic and varied ways that each medium captures an audience. Take the writing techniques from these and use them to enhance your ability to tell stories that captivate listeners.
• Stay updated
It’s easy for listeners to become disconnected if they don’t feel they can relate to the voice on the other side of the radio. Countering this ties into your ability to interact with listeners as a community; sometimes it’s not enough to focus entirely on your own life. It means understanding and appealing to your audience’s interests and frustrations. If your audience is into the latest TV show, watch it, if they’re complaining about traffic in the city centre, find out more about it. The point is to understand and relate to who you’re talking to, even if that means doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Develop a connection that will last.
• Social Media Savvy
The world is more connected than ever before. Social media allows people from entirely different sides of the globe to communicate so easily that it was unthinkable 20-30 years ago. Most importantly, it lets people communicate with creators in ways they never could before. Twitter, in particular, is where the majority of your audience will come to get updates, share their opinions and interact with you directly. You need to be prepared for anything, as this is also where your detractors will find you and offer… criticism? Insults? Threats? Probably all three.
You need to be able to handle all kinds of interactions on social media, positive and negative, while keeping up a professional demeanor and not embarrassing yourself or your peers. Trust us, plenty of people have tanked their careers (and possibly others) through unprofessional behaviour on social media.
In conclusion, to secret to become a great radio or television presenter cannot happen overnight. Take these points on board and you will be on your way to positive improvement on your presenting skill, shows and more mutu engagement with your audience on a whole new level.