Thinking Out Loud

The Art of Being Real

When I joined Audience Research & Development (very!) green and fresh out of graduate school in 1982, the firm’s Managing Partner gave me one piece of advice. “Don’t ever mention that you trained as an actor,” he counseled. “Acting is pretending. Journalists are concerned with being real.” I wish he’d been with me last Fall […]

Nerves on Parade

The appearance of Sergio Dipp as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football has received a lot of coverage. Most of it has been harsh. The question that it raised for me is how much of his struggle had to do with nerves? In our work, we constantly encounter introverts who have an inexplicable urge […]

Pitch Perfect

“My producer keeps telling me that my pitch is too high.” “I don’t like the sound of my voice – I think it sounds too high.” “Will smoking and drinking whiskey help me get a deeper voice?” Elevated pitch, or a voice that is “too high”, is a common complaint for both male and female clients.  […]

Voice of Experience

When security put the United States Capitol Building on lockdown late one July afternoon, NBC Washington’s Scott McFarlane was on the Live Desk. Little about the situation was known, and the station had no reporters or photographers in the vicinity of the trouble. Calmly and steadily, the veteran reporter began with what he had — a […]

Connection Magic

“What’s the secret to connecting with an audience?” When Harvard Business Review put this question to Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame), his answer was as profound and applicable to delivering the news as it is to doing his Vegas magic act. Here’s a part of what he said: If someone is talking about […]

Chuck Henry Wants You!!!

Conversations about teasing usually focus on what to say, and organizations spend a ton of time and money working to get the words right. But loads of research has shown that trust and decision-making are driven at least as much (and often, more) by delivery as by content. In other words, if your goal is to […]

Sound Advice

Research is showing that viewers in all dayparts are listening more and watching less, so the way you use your voice may be more important than ever. Close your eyes and listen to this presentation by CNN’s Tom Foreman. It’s as notable for the way he speaks as it is for the way he moves and gestures. […]

Looking Good!

It’s still not unusual for clients to ask us, “Shouldn’t viewers be more focused on what I have to say than how I look? If my content is significant, why does my appearance matter?” We understand the frustration. Most of the anchors and reporters we work with did not pursue a career in journalism to spend […]

A Voice for All Seasons

Seasonal change can have a significant impact on your voice. There’s increased risk of cold and flu in winter, of course. Heating systems suck the moisture out of the air and create a very dry environment, which can wreak havoc on the vocal folds. And then just when you think it’s safe to speak again, […]