Relationships, Customers or Listeners: Effective Communication In Three Steps

Posted on August 19, 2011


When you boil it down, being a host of any sort — radio show, podcast, event or anything else — is all about being an effective communicator.

That’s why I found this quote from  a New York Times interview with Pegasystem’s CEO Alan Trefler so interesting, “I think people also overestimate their ability to be understood.”

Trefler isn’t the host of anything. His company has nothing to do media. He’s not a psychologist or relationship expert.

Pegasystems is a customer service database system and if there is anywhere it’s important to clearly communicate it the world of customer service.

Luckily he proceeds to explain how to be understood. He boils down effective communication into an easy process, “The first step is to get somebody to understand what you’re saying. The next step is to get them to accept it. And then the ultimate step is to get them to act on it.”

What a succinct analysis of what needs to occur in all forms of communication including every time you open the mic:

  1. Get listeners to understand what you are saying
  2. Get them to accept it.
  3. Get them to act on it.

As a host I think you have a specific advantage over people participating in normal one-to-one conversations. Hosts are expected to be an authority so getting a listener to accept what you say is much easier.

That’s ok, steps one and three are plenty tough.

Way too many airtalent skip step one by not establishing or clearly explaining the topic of a break.

Sure, you understand the content but don’t assume your listeners do. Set and re-set the premise clearly and frequently to help them understand what you are talking about.

Then there’s step three.

Before you open the mic, determine what you want the listeners to do. Then tell them.

Whether you want the listeners to call-in with a comment, visit your Facebook page, tune-in again tomorrow, text to win, laugh, share the information with their friends or something else, make sure you tell the listeners. Don’t assume they will know.

Of course, if you aren’t sure which step you are struggling with, I recommend hiring a good mechanic to help out.