Is Your Audience Left Out

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(By Randy Lane) You tune in to a show in the middle of a story and hear the host say, “She said she’d like to tour again, but he said she’d be safer and more productive spending time in the studio and doing virtual concerts.”

The host wraps up by saying something like, “We’ll find out next month what they decided to do.” The listeners think, “Who the hell are they talking about?” Then switches stations.

When covering a story, minimize pronouns and emphasize proper nouns. Rather than assume the audience has been listening from the setup of the story, simply replace pronouns with character names to provide context for listeners joining mid-story.

Beyonce said she’d like to tour again, but Jay-Z said she’d be safer and more productive spending time in the studio and doing virtual concerts.”

Radio shows maintain and increase time-spent-listening with inclusive language.

Can pronouns ever be inclusive?

Yes. In personal stories, the You Technique is a subtle yet powerful way to make listeners feel included in the story.

Which opening sounds more inclusive?

  • “I was on the edge of my seat last night watching the Lakers lose to the Suns.”
  • “Did you see the Lakers game last night? Were you on the edge of your seat, too?”

Reserve the word “you” to speak directly to the audience.

On ensemble shows, refer to one another by name rather than “you” so the audience knows which character you are talking to, and it increases character identity.

  • “You didn’t like that movie?”
  • “Katie, you didn’t like that movie?”

Resetting and reintroductions

  • Reintroduce a guest every few minutes to avoid listener frustration.
  • Topics need to be reset every few minutes during segments and at the end of segments for listeners just joining the show.

Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805.231.5746 or email at [email protected].

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