CCM Coaching Tip #14: Be A Good Neighbor First
April 15, 2016
by Tommy Kramer, KramerMedia.net
There's one thing a listener who hits the "scan" or "search" button and lands on your station should immediately feel...
But first, a little background story. When I first met my longtime friend and partner John Frost, he seemed like one of the most decent people I'd ever met. He was smart and funny, and a big baseball fan (which we have in common). But after a while, I noticed that I'd never, ever heard him curse.
This puzzled me, and I pooh-pooh'd this as his being a "goody-goody". And it became clear after being around each other a lot that not only did he not curse, but he never even seemed to NOTICE when someone else would!
That was REALLY weird to me. I came from a rather hot-blooded Southern family, and my father worked in curse words the way some artists work in oils or charcoal - choosing just the RIGHT one for each occasion. Sometimes, when he was particularly vexed with something, the resulting tirade would have my sisters and me in stitches laughing.
So I set out to MAKE John Frost react, and cursed like a sailor around him for several months.
Nothing. No frowns, no head shaking. I even tried to come with new, more inventive curse words ("crapstick" was one), but John still just ignored it. So finally, I just quit cursing around him. It seemed rude to keep assaulting him with it, and I didn't like being a potty-mouth. As we continued to work together, eat Mexican food, and go to ball games, I came to know that John is a Christian. And that explained perfectly (1) why he didn't curse, and (2) how 'together' he seemed when facing a new challenge. Where I was given to emotional displays somewhat like Daffy Duck reacts to having his bill shot off by Elmer Fudd, John was calm and steady.
So here's how that applies to you as an air talent: Instead of trying to impress people with how big a Christian you are, be a good neighbor first. Seem like the person who, if I went out of town for a few days, would pick up the newspapers on my front stoop, so it doesn't show that my house is empty. Be the person I'd want to invite to my backyard barbecue, not because of your faith, necessarily, but just because I think everyone will like being around you.
Be clear that I'm not saying you should HIDE your faith in any way. Just don't lay it on too thick, too soon. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you're my friend. But if you're a good neighbor, you'll become one. And if you're a good neighbor who's also a Christian, you'll become an even closer one.