One of the first things I was taught when I embarked on a radio career was that smiling is so important. When recording or going live to air talking with a smile on your face is more engaging and gives listeners a sense that they can trust you. Alternatively, having an unhappy tone and not smiling creates the picture in a listener's mind that you are bored and uninterested in the message you are delivering. This kind of negative allusion must be avoided at all costs.
Unfortunately, I've never been a naturally happy person so it took me a while to grasp the concept.
Consider the following two recordings. The same content but one done with a smile and the other without. Can you tell the difference? Which version would get your attention and make you want to know more? I think it's pretty obvious.
Of course, you have to be careful when it comes to smiling in the wrong context. After leaving the announcers booth, I went on to become a newsreader, and there are times when you certainly should not be smiling while reading the news. For example, I was once caught out after reading about bushfires live on air with a happy tone. It's a lesson you learn quickly and rarely make that mistake more than once. That's a danger in itself. When you move from the happy laidback environment of announcing, to the often serious and sombre newsroom, you can't get the two confused as I did on occasions.
One final point to consider is this: don't overdo it. Smiling is important, but when you push it too far and end up in the realm of being cheesy, nobody will take you seriously. Would you do business with this guy?
So remember to smile more, laugh loud and long and put your best foot forward when presenting on air.
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