I’m known for being a bit of a witterer, I love nothing more than a good gossip and catch-up – it’s one of the reasons I loved being a journalist and found this skill in particular transferred wonderfully into my role in PR. People, news, lives, opinions… all the fodder of a career based in communication.
But ‘wittering’ live in front of an audience of 200,000 radio listeners. Well, that’s a very different ball game.
As a PR practitioner, I do pride myself on ‘walking the talk’. I live and breathe the very things I spend every working day advising clients to do. Networking, attending events, speaking at seminars, spreading the good news, embracing social media, speaking on the radio…
Hello comfort zone, I’m heading for the radio, mind if I crash out of you for a while?
Which is something that, thanks to Andrew Edwards and BBC Radio Leeds, I do every six to eight weeks when I’m invited to speak, live on air, about the “issues of the day” on the very aptly named “Wednesday Witter”. It’s a slot that Andrew launched back in 2010 and every week two business people are invited in to chat about the things that interest them, and which, ultimately, connect back to the news of the day.
I’ve been joining Andrew and my wittering partner Alan Mackereth for four years and in that time we’ve discussed journalists being held hostage, new year’s resolutions, politics of the day, pot holes in the roads, the Tour de France budgetary spend, the value of a name and how to keep memories alive.
It’s still guaranteed to get the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing. But, despite the nerves and the predictable self-doubt just before we go live, it’s one of the best things I do in my working week.
On every visit I marvel at the magic of the BBC machine. I watch Andrew running the show from behind a desk that rivals the complexity of the Starship Enterprise and I love the moments off air when we laugh and catch up. My walk through the beating heart of the BBC newsroom where journalists, broadcasters, researchers and producers are working away meeting deadlines and making the news happen before they go live to the region, is positively electrifying.
PR is about finding ways to let yourself, your brand and your business really shine. It’s so easy to say no when an opportunity presents itself that pushes you way out of your comfort zone. But when has business been about comfort and ease? Like an exercise workout, the temptation is to put it off, but it’s always rewarding and the effects of doing it time and again brings long term benefits. Approach has had business leads from people, just because they heard me on the radio.
If only I’d known back in my school days of the 80s that the ‘chatterbox’ nature I was often reprimanded for, would one day find me on the radio talking live to an audience of thousands. Now wouldn’t that be a story to tell back in the classroom.
Come to think of it, maybe that could be my next speaking opportunity.
“Hello comfort zone, I’m heading back to school…”
Image sourced from Pixabay