Friday, October 26, 2012

Can You Do A Show Like Taylor Swift?

On any number of levels it’s hard not to be incredibly impressed with Taylor Swift.

But watching her at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York do a ‘Live on Letterman' segment Tuesday night, I was way beyond impressed. 'Wowed' wouldn't be too much.

I want to be careful not to use the word ‘performance’ or ‘show’ in describing what I saw because the half hour or so felt far more intimate and personal. It was instead much like a feel-good gathering of close friends.

The relevance here is that, for the past 6 years, country listeners participating in A&O’s annual online perceptual study have placed a great deal of importance on ‘makes me feel good when I listen’ and ‘DJs who sound like my friends and not disc jockeys’ when talking about why they choose one country station over another.  

As they could relate to the next time you're on the air, here are some take-aways from Taylor’s performance:
  • Choose your words carefully so that they sound careless.  How would you tell a friend about something that just happened to you? That’s the language you’re looking for.
  • Be intimate. When you speak, strive to make it a personal conversation with a friend or group of friends. 
  • When planning the show, intentionally create opportunities for these conversations to occur.
  • Use body language, pauses and inflection to help make your points more salient and the conversation more interesting.  Yes, you can ‘hear’ body language on the air.
  • ‘Love on the music.’ Tell a story that heightens interest in hearing the next song. Of course that works for spoken content, too.  
  • Others players on the show can add power to your content. Taylor’s background singers didn’t just share the stage, they gave Taylor’s music additional power and punch with just the right amount of animation and interaction.
  • Be so prepared you sound spontaneous.
  • Be totally in the moment. Few at the Ed Sullivan Theater probably cared (or even thought about) Taylor’s day probably starting around 4am to prepare for a GMA broadcast. And even if they had known, their expectations wouldn’t have been any less high. Right now is what counts.

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