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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

(TALENT) Your 10-Day Challenge


Do you really want to improve your on-air presentation skills?

I'm talking to you driven, aggressive, ambitious individuals who really want it, and want it bad. You have to want it bad because what I am proposing is not for the faint of heart or the weak spirited. Most of you can't do it. Most of you will not even try it. Most of you who do try it will not make it through because you will experience severe discomfort and torment.

However, 10 days later, those of you who do participate will have improved and sharpened your skills exponentially, and in many areas. Are you ready for your 10-day challenge? Here it is:

Air check yourself once every day.

If you think that doesn't sound like much, let's make sure that you understand the challenge. This means that once every day, you pull one of your on-air segments and listen to it/watch it yourself. Just one segment. Don't do more.
Almost nothing is more difficult than hearing your own voice. I remember hating it when I was on air, and even now I struggle to watch clips of myself speaking. It's hard, just like most things that are good for us. How long has it been since you've air checked?

The reason air checking yourself improves your work is proven by neuroscientific research. Long-term memory formation can only happen when what you are learning has emotional value.

Emotions amplify memory. And what is more emotional than hearing yourself on the radio or watching yourself on-camera? Nothing! The saying goes that "there is no learning without emotion."

You will point out nuances to yourself that will be far more tangible than points any program director will ever mention to you. No one is a bigger critic of you than you.

So if you are ready to step up, set a daily appointment on your calendar starting on January 5, the first work day after the New Year. If you don't set an appointment on your calendar, it won't happen.

Take that time each day to experience one segment of your work as a viewer would see it, or as a listener would hear it. Air check by yourself or, even better, convince your partners on your show to listen with you. If you can't air check every day, try three days a week.

Maybe five percent of the on-air talent who read this email will take up this challenge. But 100 percent of those that do will be dramatically better at their craft 10 days later.

Jeff McHugh is a 30-year broadcaster with a background in marketing and talent coaching. Jeff works with radio and television personalities, public speakers and presenters to add storytelling, drama and character to their content.

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