It’s interesting how we can watch the same film, and come away with different takeaways and impressions. After seeing The King’s Speech early in the year, I was struck by King George VI’s challenge to master new technology – radio – in his communication efforts and likened it to the challenges that legacy media faces today.
Greater Media’s programming czar, Buzz Knight, enjoyed The King’s Speech, too. But his “take” was that it is a great parable for coaching talent. And after reading his thoughts below, you will probably agree that his thoughts may be more on target than were mine. See what you think.
Every Program Director in America that manages on-air talent needs to see The King’s Speech. Without question, the lessons instilled in this fantastic movie about speech therapist Lionel Logue and his relationship with King George VI are a motivation to getting the most out of our own version of royalty... otherwise known as our on-air talent.
I don't want to minimize the critical mission in The King’s Speech – dealing with and conquering the condition of stammering. But beyond this vital task of therapy, here are five great lessons that can guide us in the coaching of on-air radio talent.
Lesson One – Respect and Empathy for Talent - Lionel Logue seemed to have an almost superhuman sympathy and empathy for the King’s communication challenges. For PDs, more respect for talent and more effort he/she builds in creating an authentic relationship, will lead to accomplishment of the coaching goal.
You can't be a "know it all" PD that constantly is trying to showcase their expertise if you're trying to build the needed credibility to create the respect that we saw in The King’s Speech.
Lesson Two – Establish Trust with Talent - Logue's relationship with the King was heavily built on trust. He consciously set out to build that bond by keeping the identity of his royal client confidential.
A Program Director must establish trust with their client (talent) on a regular basis. Trust can't be mandated in memos or in a weekly aircheck session. It has to be done with authenticity and credibility of actions.
Logue demonstrated his trust, courage and knowledge by proving his worth. And he got results!
Lesson Three – Be Clear from Day One - Lionel Logue was very clear with the King and set his terms in the relationship from their first meeting. He never budged.
Flexibility has value at given moments but when we lay out our criteria to talent for how the relationship is going to work, we have to stick with those expectations and continue to reinforce them with brute force directness.
Lesson Four – Credentials Don't Matter. Results do. - When all was said and done, Logue didn't have the big name that a royal family thought they deserved. It didn't matter in the long run because he got results with his tactics.
A PD can talk about all of the jobs in their resume past and none of this matters unless results occur.
Lesson Five – Have a Sense of Humor. - Lionel Logue approached his task with dignity and respect, but in the midst of an enormous task, he had a sense of humor.
When we approach our talent with a difficult mission, let's not forget that we're in show business and let's have a sense of humor.
Go see The King’s Speech – not just because it won all those Oscars. Look for that special motivation that helps you find your coaching voice and allows your talent to excel and grow with confidence.
Your audience will thank you by giving you even better ratings.