Know Your Place

As I was proofreading my book, Mutations: Talent Coaching, Leadership, and Whimsical Wisdoms, I came across a chapter that intrigued me again. Of course, in the book it is a different thought and I’m happy to report that my very own book even makes me think.

In this particular chapter, and I’ll let you find out which one, I cite some research that was conducted in the late 60s-early 70s. The project was to simply find out which people groups were most influential on the individual. In that time period the person that carried the most power…well… number three on the list, was DJs. With great power comes great responsibility and DJs were anything but responsible! (tongue in cheek here)

The same research was repeated sometime in the late 90s early 2000s. Sadly, DJ’s didn’t even make the list in any fashion!  I call attention to this here to highlight the idea that to be effective you kind of have to know your place.

For example, if you’re at a homeless kitchen and you are providing food, you would address your audience in terms of service. If you’re on the TV show Downton Abbey and you are LORD, then you are addressing people from a point of authority. The conditions of the environment appoint the role. The people in relationship within that environment dictate the point-of-connection.

When you are on-mic, your listener has to know—especially in this time—that you are an ordinary person. Your listener relates to you as a regular person unless you actually have become famous. For example, Howard Stern is bigger than life. Yet, he manages to pass himself off as a regular guy and it works.

Inside the Christian world of broadcasting, Brant Hansen has that persona that is bigger than ordinary. He has established a brand. He has some things he can do because of that brand. Still, he comes off as a regular guy. A humble, sometimes confuses, always funny, regular guy. He goes to great pains to stay a regular guy. Brant got it. You can, too. It starts with knowing where you actually fit in the mind of the listener. Knowing that piece of information allows you to start a conversation that is meaningful to him or her.

I have repeated this research time and time again over the years. Different studies and slightly different approaches. Each time my staff was devastated to find out how unfamiliar they were to our core listeners. That said, my performers rose above the fray time and time again because they had the reality of their position in the daily conversation and sought to engage from that platform and elevate the relationship.

Your value is great! … but it’s not as great as it used to be and that’s what I know.