Why Coaching for News Anchors Is Important

If you’re a news anchor, then you likely fall into one of three talent categories for TV broadcasters – average, above average or elite.

There is a fourth category – below average. Getting to the level of anchor is typically not reserved for below average talent.

Neither is it reserved for elite talent though.

In fact, the vast majority of news anchors are planted in the average category.

This is due, in great part, to the fact that most of them don’t recognize the importance of coaching for news anchors. They think they’ve made it, so why bother?

Well, there are plenty of reasons to bother.

The Benefits of Coaching for News Anchors

If you’re content to settle for a solid C+ and have no desire to get into a larger market in a city where you want to be, then no need to read any further.

Even if you’re already in a large market or at a network, don’t be too quick to assume that the following also doesn’t apply to you. Your “status” does not guarantee you’re an above average talent.

Not yet, at least.

The broadcasting world – like many others – is heavily populated by mediocrity. There are precious few souls who are consistently delivering for their stations or networks.

There are even fewer who perform so exceptionally both on camera and off that they make everyone else on the show better.

The latter is what station managers, news talent agents and networks want to see. And for up-and-coming anchors who’ve already demonstrated strong ability, the difference between being an average anchor and an elite one comes down to coaching.

A talent coach has the experience and skillset to turn news anchors into truly valuable television personalities.

What to Expect When Interacting with a Coach

We aren’t going to sugarcoat it.

While you’re likely to get a few compliments, getting that first VERY honest assessment from a talent coach can be brutal. Just remember that he or she is only looking at your on-camera skills. It’s not an assault on your character or who you are. (Even if it feels that way.)

The objective of a talent coach is to make you a better on-camera performer. That means that the journey from average to, at the very least, above average is going to require you to make some changes.

There are three primary areas of focus for talent coaches: vocal skills, on-camera appearance and perceived audience appeal.

1. Vocal Skills

Newscasters of the past were trained to read with a slow and steady cadence that sounded very much like they were reading from a script. Which they were.

Audiences today much prefer a more conversational tone. Mastering this is easier for some than for others.

In fact, you may believe that you’re already speaking in a conversational way. But in reality, the way you’re speaking sounds forced or fake.

Another thing to consider is how fast and/or how loud you’re speaking. And if you have a regional dialect, is it sneaking out during your broadcast? Again, you may not even be aware of it.

A talent coach will notice it right away. Then he or she will work with you to ensure that you’re speaking with the correct inflection, speed, and volume, while helping you eliminate any quirky vernacular.

All of this leads to a more polished vocal delivery.

2. Physical Appearance

You’re a news anchor, so you already know that how you look is very important. That’s just one of the facts of this business.

So of course your talent coach will need to discuss your on-camera appearance with you. This could go any number of directions.

For instance, if a certain color doesn’t go well with your skin tone, you’ll be advised to avoid it. Or if you’re wearing the wrong clothes for the market you’re serving (for example, thinking that what you wore in Chicago will go over just as well in Salt Lake City), you’ll be made aware of that too.

If your ties are distracting, or your earrings are too dangly, you’ll hear about it. And you may be asked to find wardrobe or image consultants to assist you with your choices.

Then there are the more sensitive areas, such as weight. If you’ve gained or lost weight, your coach might suggest different clothes to hide this fact. They may also suggest certain lifestyle changes.

Remember, these are not attacks. They’re a part of maintaining a certain image. And you can be sure the big names at the networks are getting the same evaluations and advice. That’s why they always look so great.

Your talent coach might even have results from focus groups to back up these opinions – so that will give you some insight into how the viewers see you.

Which brings us to our last area of focus:

3. Your Audience Appeal

What is that “thing” that makes you unique as an anchorperson; that special something that goes beyond how you sound or look?

Maybe you have charisma. Or a breezy sense of humor. If so, congratulations. If these come across naturally, your audience will identify with you and this will increase your appeal.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling insecure because you’re not a natural charmer or class clown, that will come across too. Particularly if you’re putting up a front.

Your coach should come armed with market research that indicates how well received you are by audiences. And you might not like what you hear.

So if you’re always putting on a show, don’t be surprised if your coach tells you that you come across as arrogant or awkward. In your attempts to sound smart or clever, you may end up tripping over your words. And trying to be funny when you’re truly not could be interpreted as rude or mean-spirited.

It’s easy to get defensive in this situation because this, more than the other two factors, feels like an attack on who you are. Once again, it is not.

So rather than arguing these points, simply explain to the coach what you’re trying to achieve.

The truth is, if you’ve already made it to the level of anchor, then there probably is something special about you. You just haven’t figured out how to develop it and capitalize on it.

This is where a seasoned TV talent coach makes all the difference. He or she will work with you to develop a plan of action that will help you to better connect with your viewers and ultimately become a better broadcaster.

Aim for AT LEAST Better Than Average

Making it as a news anchor is no easy feat. You need a team behind you that believes in you and your abilities. You also need to believe in yourself.

If you’re currently looking for experienced news talent agents who can also connect you with top-of-the-line coaching for news anchors, contact us today.

And start reaching your full potential.

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