Add Energy To Language To Improve Results

Add Energy To Language To Improve Results

by Tracy Johnson

Programmers commonly tell air personalities to pick up the energy. So they talk faster, louder, and play a music bed behind talk breaks. That’s placing the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Those things have nothing to do with increasing energy. The key is to add energy to language.

Using powerful language increases effectiveness and drives energy. It makes sense. Think about how you respond to headlines. What is more effective:

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That’s obvious, right? And the same principle applies to talk breaks, too.

How To Add Energy To Language

Recently, I had a conversation with clients brainstorming a couple of segments for their morning show. They had great ideas but needed to add energy to language. Here are two phone topics they started with:

  • What incident happened in your high school that everyone talked about?
  • What did your kid do to embarrass you in public?

Both are good topics and the show had stories to set up each topic. All it needed was a little more energy. I call it turning up the volume.

  • What scandal rocked your high school?
  • What did your kid do that you thought was going to ruin your life?

Here’s the interesting thing: The show used the words in the brainstorming session that would make the segments stand out. But they hadn’t planned to use those action words on the air. All they needed was to avoid toning it down. Just turn it up!

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The Result

Some will read this and think it’s hyperbole or exaggeration. Okay. Maybe. But listeners don’t hear it that way. It stands out.

This can be the difference between ordinary content and memorable moments. Didja Hear moments happen when shows add energy to language.

Research shows most radio shows are generally liked but few are loved. Programmers scan the results and breathe a sigh of relief when respondents are asked “Did you like what you heard” and listeners say, “Yes”. That’s positive, of course. But there’s a better measure of success.

Agreeing that “I like what I heard” is quite different than a listener telling someone, “Did you hear what they did?”

Passion follows those who command attention and stand out.

Imagine the examples above. Adding energy on-air inspires passion off-air.

  • Question: Did you like the calls about people who had strange incidents at their high schools?
    • Yes. It was entertaining.
  • OMG. You should have heard it! They told stories about scandals in high school all morning.

Or how about this:

  • Did you like it when they had callers about how kids embarrass parents in public? Yes. It reminded me of my kids.
  • I can’t believe the story from the woman who called (show) about how her kid ruined her life!
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Energy is contagious. It transfers from personalities to listeners and beyond. And it’s easy to do. Just turn up the volume on ordinary topics to make them stand out. Getting started may take some effort, but once in motion, it can become a habit.

Add energy to language. Don’t turn it down. Turn it up!


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