No Conflict, No Connection

 In Blog

In our coaching workshops, air talent often misunderstands the concept of on-air conflict. We’re not talking about bickering, fighting or arguing. We’re talking about intentional conflict.

Focus group listeners tell us they don’t like bickering because they can get that at home! They do tell us they enjoy “friendly conflict” between show players.

Radio shows and podcasts lacking intentional conflict make it easy for people to tune out because there’s nothing to miss. There’s no action, drama, or payoff.

But, with two opposing viewpoints, the audience can enter the fray, take a stand and emotionally engage. Now you’ve got them hooked.

Intentional conflict is a skill you and your team can purposely build together.

How to apply conflict to your show/podcast

  • Plan your positions and do preliminary research on your topic. It’s a win if the audience learns some new information from your debate.
  • Stories: Before airing a personal or external story, ask yourself, “What’s at stake?” An entertaining story must have something at stake or it’s merely an observation or an announcement. The more tension built to delay the payoff, the deeper the audience engagement.
  • Know the difference between announcements, observations, and stories.

    “I was in Chicago, and I saw this great band.”  AND? Observation

    “Here are the winners from last night’s Grammys. AND? Announcement

    “Alicia Keyes handled a tough moment with class and empathy last night at the Grammys.” AND? “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She set the tone for the entire awards ceremony.” Story

    The conflict is the fine line she had to walk between the sadness the audience was feeling and opening a fun, entertaining show.
  • Inner conflicts: Inner conflicts are two opposing forces within yourself, something you’re grappling with. For example, “I want to be a parent, versus I still want to have the freedom to party and travel.” Inner conflicts give a character depth and authenticity through vulnerability. Listeners will connect with you and will always remember those vulnerable moments.

 Bottom line: No conflict, no story. No conflict, no connection.

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

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