Yes, we have all been there. You don’t feel well; you’ve had an argument with your spouse; you’re tired; your baby is in hospital; the car needs expensive repairs; the news lady has had a bereavement and guess who has to cover for her…
Then you have to turn on that microphone and be your usual, perky, professional self. How do you do it? How do you pretend everything is alright with the world…when in your case it isn’t?
Allow me to offer a few hints I’ve picked up over the years, and be encouraged.
1: It’s a job. Street sweepers, farmers and photographers all have tough days at the office. But they don’t just give up and go to bed. The world has to keep spinning. They simply do the best they can, in the hope that somehow today will still work out OK and tomorrow will be better. Radio announcers are no different. You need to make the decision to stay focused, and do your job. End of story.
2: Other people are relying on you. You think you are having a bad day? Take a moment to stop and think about your listeners! Guaranteed someone out there is having a bad day: losing their home in a mortgagee sale, fighting cancer, being sued, divorcing, getting laid off and failing exams. And for better or worse, you are the person they are turning to for distraction and for a bit of friendly relief. Instead of allowing your situation to make you bitter, allow it to make you more sympathetic to the real needs of you listeners. It takes a broken human to truly connect with another broken human!
So, how can you be empathetic when you are reading the weather? My friend, just be professional and do your job. Your empathy will come through somehow. Remember, your listeners don’t relate so much to what you say, but to who you are as a person.
3: You need to be an actor. Consider Brad Pitt. In recent times he has lost his marriage, and only has restricted access to his children. That’s gotta hurt. But when the director calls “action,” his multi-million-dollar contract says he has to be on the ball, and produce a performance that is both professional and moving. And time after time, he does it.
For a radio announcer, the hardest part is rising to the occasion as that microphone is switched on. And, hard as it is, it boils down to a decision. For the first few seconds, we have to act…go through the motions as best we can. Call it a step of faith…knowing that something else will kick in, and help us to do our job well and to be friendly and relatable. What is that something else? Some people call it ‘finding the strength within.’ Knowing I don’t have much of that, I prefer to call it ‘finding the external strength I need.’ And I can turn on that microphone in confidence, knowing that there is One greater than me, who loves my listeners more than I do, who wants to do more for my listeners than I ever could, and who wants to bless me in the process.
So today, no matter your circumstances, go do your job. It may just be the best day of your life!