Vulnerability and Gratitude: Two Ways to Endear Yourself to Listeners

Posted on April 10, 2012

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WSCR/Chicago host Dan McNeil

Back in December I wrote a post about how several smart people had told me that vulnerability is an important and effective way for hosts to bond with their audience and build lasting connections.

Here’s a great example:

According to Robert Feder’s Chicago Media column popular Chicago sports-talk host Dan McNeil has returned to the air on WSCR after a six-week hiatus.

McNeil told listeners he’d essentially suffered a nervous breakdown and had been receiving treatment for depression and substance abuse. You can find more detail about McNeil’s story here.

That’s not an easy thing to admit for any host especially one in the male-dominated sports-talk world. But it’s that honesty that builds stronger bonds with the audience.

He could have tried to hide it behind a wall of excuses but that only stands to weaken the bond between a host and their audience. When the listeners no longer believe what you say they are less likely to want to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Congrats to McNeil on not only beating back his demons but being honest with his audience about them.

McNeil, who isn’t necessarily known for being humble, also did something else that’s very important; he said thank you.

Feder reports that McNeil not only thanked his wife, co-workers and friends for supporting him, he also thanked his fans, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.”

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