Thursday, April 08, 2010

Talent Coaching and Management

We've all heard that on-air talent that just seems to flow on the air.   They sound comfortable, prepared, spontaneous, plugged into the audience and entertaining.   So what's their secret and how can you spread this good virus to the rest of the staff?  After working with a lot of talent over the years I usually focus on these 4 steps:
  1. Comfortable - We've all see the performer or comedian that just doesn't seem comfortable.  It's usually disturbing to watch and no matter how good the material they usually fall apart.   Of course there have been comedians that build their whole routine around being uncomfortable, but for the most part if you are not comfortable in the studio, behind the mic, with the audience, with their PD/Coach, with the station's image/style, and with themselves it doesn't work.   It's a lot to 'get comfortable with' but the real performers have that comfort level dialed in when the mic is open.   
  2. Confident - Is it any mystery that the best talent is nearly always the ones with the biggest ego?  When you have that level of confidence your communication cuts through.  But to be confident you first have to be comfortable.   
  3. Understands the Audience - Do they visualize and really know who is on the other side of the mic?   Do they also understand how the overall station communicates and images itself to the audience?  If they do then they can take full advantage of their comfort and confidence to cut through to the audience.   
  4. Prep - Not only do you need to connect with the audience you also need to organize the prep so it integrates into the show.   The key here is making sure you know 'what is really important to the audience today' and also 'what is really important on the station today.'   They are often not the same thing - the big talk in the audience might be the new I Pad or a Movie while the big news at the station might be that Slash has a new CD out.   Find the answers to both and then you know how to prep.   
If your talent is hitting on these 4 cylinders I bet they have a passionate audience, high recall scores and they will likely out perform the other dayparts.    

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