Mind-Reading for a Radio Presenter
Part of the job of radio presenter is to be a mind reader.
The more successful mind reader you are the better broadcaster you will be.
As we discussed in our bible of radio broadcasting for beginners, click here to see it on Amazon, mind reading is a skill that when developed makes you seem like the coolest person on the radio.
The trick is not just about mind reading, but also to do it in a way that seems natural.
By placing yourself in the position of just one listener for a particular link, you might make their day or relate to them in a magical way. Once you connect with them, even once through mind reading, they will never forget you.
Mind reading really is another way to describe how some broadcasters train presenters to feature a “sense of the day” into their links. It is understanding the listener and what they might be thinking.
Now before you hot foot it into the studio and say, “Well, so if you are driving right now this song will sound perfect” Think again.
That sort of mind reading is for imbeciles and the listener, unless they are an ape, will probably think you are a moron for stating the obvious. Apes DO drive now by the way. Since Caesar escaped they have got their own community and everything.
Try not to use obvious things on the radio; they just make you look a twerp to an otherwise intelligent listener. We were always taught that assuming the listener is more intelligent than you avoids them thinking you are Noddy and frowning at the radio when you talk at them.
Granted there are a few thick people who listen to the radio, but they really aren’t bothered much about what you have to say and provided you don’t discuss quantum physics they will in some way follow what you are trying to say or get a general gist.
When presenters are encouraged to make obvious observations on the radio its actually quite insulting. Just because the listener chooses your station because they like the music, it doesn’t always mean they do not have a brain.
So, mind reading is something that needs to be developed and experimented with, used sparingly and added to your content in a subtle way.
A great way to start learning the skill of mind reading is to listen to speech radio. Listening to award winning content on the likes of LBC will immediately catapult you into a reality zone. A zone where people speak about what matters, they express themselves in a natural way and don’t say obvious imbecilic things like, “this is a great issue to enjoy whilst you’re driving today”.
Speech radio also covers massively how people are thinking about specific issues, these you can weave into links in a clever way. More in our book.
This is not to say if you work on a music station, your first link of the day relates to monetary policy, but rather that by absorbing the world’s issues will add perspective overall to how and what content you might be adding to your show. If the whole world is discussing something really significant, yet you are talking rubbish, you might come across as a bit of a nonce.
So, what are your listeners doing, what are they thinking about on any particular day. And more importantly can you stealthily add to your links to illustrate you understand what they might be feeling, without smugly simply coming out and saying it?
“So house prices in London have fallen, hope you haven’t just bought a house, but if you have, um, well hold on to the asset and it will recover, well um, that is if you can get a mortgage, um, well not saying that you can’t get a mortgage, er, ok here’s Miley Cyrus, just love the new album”
Sometimes when communicating on the radio, a simple word or a tiny phrase could make an enormous impact on the listener. From thinking you are a DJ joining music and adverts together you can become a human, one of them, even a friend. Boom! Result.
You can work issues into your links, use sarcasm, comments or key words that are seemingly harmless but actually have enormous value.
“School run time, nowhere to park again, brilliant, ok here’s Miley Cyrus” – is much better than “Well, as we approach the school run, which is when you go get your kids from school, I have kids too, I find the school run to be a busy part of the day, here is Miley Cyrus, should sound really good on the school run”
This brings us on to how mind reading can also go very wrong.
Who are you to tell a listener that a particular song might sound good on a particular day outright? What if the listener hates that song? Mind reading on the radio does not mean making statements about songs you like that the listener might not.
Sometimes what you do not say can be a form of mind reading. If a listener likes a song, they will turn it up, they don’t need to be told to turn it up, or that the song sounds good for a particular reason, that is up to them. You are there to introduce the music not really comment on it. Commenting on music is not mind reading, clever or really adds any value. See our book for what type of music comments can add value.
More on Mind Reading soon.