Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Elements Of Style

In 1920, E. B. White and William Strunk, Jr. wrote a prescriptive American English writing style guide that remains in print to this day.  I constantly recommend it as a way to hear yourself objectively and recognize that the habitual things we write and say are often meaningless hackneyed crutches and cliches.

Two bits of their advice may be all that you need:
  • Use the active voice.
  • Omit needless words
It’s so brief and meaty that you could go to a library and read it all before leaving the building.  Or, right now by clicking on this pdf.

How much do you need it?  Give yourself a score from one to ten on this morning’s show:
  • How connected to your community, using social networks and the telephones was it?
  • Were characters “real” with believable values or just cartoon voices?
  • How many times did you make listeners laugh?
  • How well did the show build anticipation, entertainingly sewing in “reason to keep listening teases” in the thread?
  • Relatablity?  Was there a lot in the chatter that was so topical and local, so unique to your market, that listeners saw a reflection of themselves in your content?
Perfect score:  50.  Most of us, if we're honest, get less than 25.

You are about average, the same as most people you compete with.

Face it:  you already know that you need some coaching on methods to add unique “style” to what you do.

Unless you want to remain "average."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jaye- Great reminders on the importance of HOW we're connecting with the listener. With the added competition for our audience's attention through social media (and everything else digital), radio has a challenge to ramp-up quicky to the meat of the content. Thanks, Jeff Baird