A simple (though not always easy) adjustment in perspective can be a breakthrough moment for personalities. Presenting a personal story with a slight tweak can be the difference between being inside vs. internal vs. personal.
This is also the difference between being authentic (good) and being self-absorbed (not good). Crafting your material to share your personal life with an outward focus sets every personality apart. But it’s tricky to do it without being boring.
The Who Cares Test
“Who cares” is an excellent test to measure whether or not your story is relatable. Put your preparation through a filter that demands a thoughtful answer.
Lay out your content and visualize how it will come when presented on the air. Then, answer the question, “Who cares?”
If you can’t find an answer, the question answers itself: “Nobody cares.” The segment needs to be reimagined because the story you’ve crafted is unrelatable and probably self-indulgent. rather than authentically relatable.
The problem is there’s a thin line between “Who cares” and “That’s just like me”.
Those terms may seem similar. I mean, what’s the difference between telling a personal story and talking about something happening in the lives of the cast? It doesn’t change the content selection, but the differences in how the audience hears it is profound.
Inside vs. Internal vs. Personal
So, what makes the difference between relatable storytelling and self-absorbed chatter? It comes down to Inside vs. Internal vs. Personal. One of the three is good:
Inside: Andy Meadows describes this as “Inside Baseball” content. Talk breaks that get into the weeds and details of what is happening behind the scenes are an instant tune-out. Inside content is when personalities “pull back the curtain” and talk about what is happening inside the show in a way that isolates them from the audience’s world. Examples include talking about the temperature in the studio, headphones that aren’t working, a cohost who’s not paying attention, and hundreds (thousands) of things listeners can’t (or won’t) relate to. This can be occasionally effective (once in a great while) but usually results in listeners feeling their time is being wasted.
Internal: Internal stories start from the lives and experiences of the host(s) but are presented in a way that fails to relate to the audience’s experience. These stories have great potential but are internal because they don’t connect to the audience externally. Internal stories can work for well-established shows in Stage 5 of the Personality Success Path or for great storytellers with remarkable stories. The further from those standards, the greater the risk.
Personal: This is the goal. Personality radio is an art, attracting listeners to become fans because they feel they know the personalities and can relate to them. Great personal stories cause listeners to think one of three things:
- He is just like me.
- She is just like someone I know.
- He/She is someone I’d like to get to know.
This is how listeners get to know you so they can become fans. It starts with the proper approach in the setup. For details, check out our Master The Setup seminar on demand.
The Difference: Inside vs. Internal vs. Personal
Here’s an example of how simply changing the perspective in a story can turn an inside or internal segment into an engaging personal story.
A personality is working on powering up their language in personal stories by reducing personal pronouns. The host had a highly relatable observation:
I don’t go to clubs nearly as much because it’s so hard to know what to wear.
That is a great storyline. Knowing how to dress seems small, but it’s a source of stress for nearly every listener at some point in their life. Here’s how this story could come off as inside vs. internal vs. personal:
Inside (self-absorbed, about us): My cohost Peppy and I have a promotion coming up, and I’m stressed because I don’t know how to dress to go to this club. Peppy, can you help me out here?
Internal (Who cares?): Man, I love going out and meeting listeners and look forward to Thursday night, but the worst part is going to a club and trying to figure out how to dress. It’s so confusing.
Personal (The Bullseye): The worst part about going to clubs or even a nice restaurant is figuring out the dress code. What do you wear anymore? It’s so confusing.
See the difference?
- Inside produces a “Who cares” response. It’s very hard (not impossible, but hard) to make that relatable.
- Internal is better but starts with our experience rather than getting into the listener’s world. Again, who cares?
- Personal is set up through the listener’s experience with a strong statement and sets up a personal story with an external context.
Some programmers coach talent to never share personal lives or stories. That’s a huge mistake because the audience will never form a personal bond with them. But it’s hard to teach the proper way to share personal stories and observations.
Rogers Media VP/Product & Talent Paul Kaye says:
Inside content is about the show hosts and their lives but doesn’t connect with, relate to, or interest me as we haven’t considered more than sharing our story. It’s personal but hasn’t found the universally appealing element. In these moments it feels more like eavesdropping on them talking rather than being part of a conversation. This works against the goal to be more desirable.
The difference between inside vs. internal vs. personal is small. It’s nuanced. But it’s very, very important. Work on creative phrasing to be personal.
For more details, check out the workshop on how to be personal without being internal or inside here.