Group Therapy is a terrific relationship feature if executed properly. Everyone loves to solve someone else’s problem. And that desire is the biggest mistake many personalities make in execution.

In Group Therapy, a listener problem is presented, discussed, and diagnosed. When hosts are too anxious to solve the problem or offer an opinion, the story loses momentum. As a result, audience engagement stalls.

This is hard to do. It’s human nature to jump in and tell the caller what you would do. But that destroys audience participation. Isn’t engaging and entertaining listeners to earn more time spent listening more important than showing how smart you are? There is plenty of time for character and opinions to come through after (or as) listeners respond.

Jonathan Wier & Ayla Brown host the feature each morning on WKLB/Boston. Here are the first two segments of a recent episode:

  • Listen to how they build intrigue in the story with comments that add suspense in the first segment.
  • They are careful to avoid trying to solve the problem or offering their opinions. Instead, the show adds color to enhance the story.
  • They sound genuinely interested. Ayla can’t wait to find out what the listener’s husband was Googling.
  • In the second segment, Jonathan starts with a strong opinion that introduces an angle in the story. If this were in the first segment, it would have distracted from the listener’s story. It would have been all about Jonathan’s opinion. Instead, the opinion becomes part of the story.
  • They take phone calls that add emotion and open the door to more angles.

This is a great example of leading listeners through multiple-segment content. Hosts should learn to increase attention by allowing emotion to build. One way to do that is to delay your own opinions.

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