From the Background to the Foreground: How to Cut Through on the Radio

 In Blog

You’ve heard the advice, “Be yourself” on the radio, but that’s not the whole story. For most people, if you’re totally being yourself, you will lack presence and energy and fade into the background.

Think about the intern, off-air producer or co-worker that is brought on the air for a break. Often even if they’re funny off the air, once they get on the show, they may sound a little low volume and/or low energy. They are being themselves…what happened?


The advice really isn’t “Be yourself.” It’s more like – “Be yourself, plus 10 percent.”

The medium of radio is different than communicating with someone in person or on video. There is no visual.  People cannot see your facial expressions or your body language. All those non-verbal cues and expressions have to come through your voice.

It’s not about being louder, which isn’t effective unless your goal is to annoy people. Shouting comes across as hype-y and unnatural. 

It also doesn’t mean to talk 10% faster. Think about professional speakers like Barack Obama. He takes his time. Talking too fast takes away from your presence.

So what can you do?

  1. Project from the diaphragm to give your voice power.
  2. Step up your energy by 10%. If you are laid-back by nature, being a hair more animated will give you more presence.
  3. Make sure every emotion is conveyed through your voice.

For managers, these tips apply to any conference calls and webinars you conduct or attend, as well. For you to cut through in your work, these same tips apply.

Exaggerate your personality through your voice to cut through and be a foreground personality rather than a background deejay.

-written by Angela Perelli


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