(By Randy Lane) Each time a wildly popular television show ends, there is a negative response in the US stock market. The stock market declined after the finales of Seinfeld, The Cosby Show, and Friends.
Why is that?
Social scientists tell us that media characters are as close to us as friends and family. Brain scans have revealed that there is no difference between how a person feels about an on-air character and how they feel about a person they know in real life.
Radio and podcast show hosts form an emotional and trust relationship with listeners when they are authentic, captivating on-air characters who connect to the audience the same way as they do with family and friends.
Here are 5 key steps to becoming an HD character:
- Take a stand:
Character development begins by sharing your point of view. That gets the audience’s attention. You’ll connect with the audience by revealing why you have that opinion. If you’re new to media, start by sharing your perspective on pop culture stories or relationship issues. Your character will cut through and be more memorable when you stick to your opinion and don’t back down.
- Share your life experiences:
Deepen your point of view by revealing personal stories that back up your opinion. Now the audience is getting to know who you are, and you’re forming a relationship with them.
- Identify your skewed opposites:
Determining your skewed opposite characteristics make your character more interesting and complex, according to screenwriter David Freeman. For example, the James Bond character is cool versus arrogant and handsome versus sexist. Your endearing characteristics (good friend) build a bridge with listeners, while your quirks and flaws (your own worst enemy) humanize you, and provide a platform for self-deprecation, drama, and humor.
- If you’re thinking it, say it:
The most compelling personalities say what others think. So what if you say something inappropriate? Depending on your character and the severity of your commentary, you can go three ways:
- If your character is edgy, don’t back down.
- Take that opportunity to be self-effacing, which enhances your likability.
- Putting your foot in your mouth often leads to comedy from you or from your team members.
- What’s your dilemma? Dilemmas are highly relatable to the audience and they deepen your character. You could be torn over whether to have children, or you have a strong desire to be healthy, but you can’t quit smoking.
Authentic relationships, plus killer content, equals long term success.