Sounding Great On Radio
On radio, people judge you by your voice.
Try smiling to add warmth and colour.
Radio, more than any other medium, is all about using your voice to create an impression.
If you need to sound trustworthy, persuasive or even comforting on radio, it all comes down to what you say and how you say it.
With the right tone and inflection you can show your passion for an issue, highlight your frustration with a situation or even demonstrate annoyance. A smile instantly makes you sound warm and friendly while a frown can make you sound cold or distant.
Here are three simple rules to consider before your next radio interview:
Rule #1- Slow down, drop down
Nerves make us speed up and speak in a higher tone of voice. Those who speak slowly have greater gravitas and are considered more credible. A good rate of speech ranges between 140 and 160 words per minute. Any faster can be difficult for listeners to absorb what you are saying.
Rule #2 - Inject ‘light & shade’
Emphasise certain words to make them stand out and create ‘attention spikes’ that engage and hold your audience’s attention.
Rule #3 - Use your voice to point (to ideas and emotions)
When you sound monotone, all your words are equally dull. You can make key words, themes or ideas stand out by:
1. Pausing for a moment before you say a key word or phrase;
2. Increasing your volume slightly (or quite a lot);
3. Smiling will add warmth and colour to what you are saying, just as a frown will make you sound annoyed. A listener will know within 10 seconds what your tone says about your facial expression;
4. Change your tone – make it friendly or critical, explanatory or confused. Remember to empathise with how the audience is thinking and feeling and make sure your tone reflects that.
Know The Audience
It's important to realise that different radio programs have different styles and cater to different demographics. Consider how that might affect what you say and how you need to say it.
Radio news reporters: News reporters typically want a short 'grab' or insight with colour and passion. They may ask you the same question a few times because they are looking for different grabs to run in different news bulletins during the day.
Talk Programs: AM talk shows have a casual, chatty tone and they usually want you to be the same. Depending on the program, the best way to prepare for this type of interview is often to imagine you've been invited over for a cup of tea and a (strategic) chat. Tell stories, use anecdotes and provide some interesting insights to help the listener understand. Remember to emphasise key words to inject ‘light and shade’.
FM reporters: They generally prefer a quicker, tabloid style for a younger demographic. People typically listen to FM news in the car or while they're doing other things. So get straight to the point with an insight that is short and sharp.