September 12, 2010

Finding Your Voice

Paralyzed With Fear

It was the day before my first on-air shift. Years of work had culminated in my chance to speak on the radio.

I had no experience. This was for skilled professionals.

All the people I admired made it seem effortless. I was terrified.

So I sought advice from a mentor.

Find your own voice and have fun.

Fun? I was petrified. I was excited for the opportunity but this was too real.

There were thousands of listeners hanging on my every word (or so I thought) and they would know I was a fake. They would be able to hear the nervousness in my voice and be laughing hysterically at this talentless idiot.

Who is this guy? How did he get on the radio?

Time gives us perspective and knowledge.

Twenty years and thousands of on-air shifts later, I was coaching others on how to find their voice. From that first horrifying moment of panic to the last time I was on-air, I always felt a twinge of nerves. This was still important.

My radio career continues to help when clients and colleagues lament their lack of experience in the online world. Everyone will know they’re a fake. They are over their heads. They don’t know what they’re doing and everyone knows it. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know what to say.

The customer can now find her own voice.

We all have the ability to build our own radio station then try to find an audience. We can build profiles and discussion platforms that give us a chance to broadcast whatever content we want. Understanding that the audience doesn't just appear and our content may not be desirable to others is the first step of acceptance.

The Three P's...

Patience | There are no lottery tickets, there are no short cuts, this will not happen immediately. This is not a campaign. Look at those you feel are doing it well and you will soon discover they are constantly revising and refining.

Practice | Whether you run long distances, drive a million dollar race car or perform surgery, you are won't master your craft the first time you try it. And thousands of procedures later, you will still be trying to get better.

Pay Attention | If your goal is to find an audience or paying customer base, you need to heed their feedback. If you make it about you, you may be your only listener. And the audience will not show up simply because you are looking for your own voice. Patience and practice will help.

While the classic rock station plays Zeppelin, the alternative station features the new Weezer album and the hit station does another story on Lindsay Lohan, you need to find your own voice.

And have fun!

Create experiences not campaigns.

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© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
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