Is your skin thick enough to be yourself?




Boyd Leader

By Boyd Leader
Director of Radio CFWE Radio Network (AMMSA)
November 30, 2015

.Humans are born with the natural ability to communicate. It’s always amazed me that when we turn on a microphone we immediately lose that ability; but it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a price to be paid for being yourself.

Take the simple act of introducing yourself to somebody. You often hear people on the radio use phrases like “(insert your name here) with you” or “(insert your name here) along with you.” Could you imagine meeting somebody in person, reaching out to shake their hand and saying “good morning, (your name) along with you?” Try it next time when you meet somebody for the first time, awkward… I suppose it’s a throwback to the old days of radio when there was a narrator introducing people. It’s never good to refer to yourself in the third person. Seinfeld had a hilarious episode based on that exact premise because it’s ridiculous.

We also forget to pause, to use inflections and to be ourselves. We use words that we would never use in person. The one word that always stands out for me is “whopping.” I hear it a lot on radio and on TV but not so much in real life. My advice to announcers was to imagine telling their family about a promotion or event. How would you tell them at the supper table? Would you tell the kids the same way you would tell the adults? Would you really use the word “whopping?” Maybe you would and you should, if it’s something you’d say.

It’s hard to be yourself but once you are all those communication skills you were born with come back to you. Suddenly you’re pausing, using inflections and relating in a way that is unique to you. It also leaves you in a very vulnerable position.

I didn’t really feel like myself until I started using the name Rhubarb Jones on the air. Weird, I had to become somebody else to be myself. I think it was because I could blame it on Rhubarb if somebody didn’t like what I was doing. People on TV and radio put themselves out there every day, criticism is personal. When you criticize what I like, what I’m excited about and what I think is important it cuts to the core. There are no shortage of critics who are hurtful to what we say, what we do and how we look. Ask any TV anchor how many emails they get commenting on their hair, clothes and jewelry. Heaven help them if they stop wearing a ring, viewers will have an entire backstory imagined before their first commercial break.

It’s part of the manager’s role to coach you to be yourself and to help you develop a thick skin. Having the confidence to be yourself is a big hump to get over, but once you achieve it… Congratulations you’ve given yourself permission to be yourself and your manager earned his paycheck.

Boyd’s Email: bo**@cf*******.ca
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