This weekend, the country lost a legend – Sir Terry Wogan passed away aged 77 after a ‘short but brave battle with cancer’. An enormous number of tributes have been paid to him over the last few days, and his death has left a hole in many peoples’ lives.
Sir Terry was a national treasure, and always positive, entertaining, humorous and authentic. We can learn a lot about his approach within his work.
At Cosmic we talk a lot about honesty and authenticity, and none more so when you are online. It has, and always will be, important to be yourself regardless of what industry you are in. Sir Terry approached his radio show in the same way he approached everything in life. He spoke to his audience as if they were one person – and they were made to feel this way. His ‘listener’ was who he was speaking to, and they were special. His words were aimed at each and every one of us. When we are writing, we should be using this as a benchmark. Speak to your audience as if they are that one person you want to connect with. Don’t make the mistake of bunching everyone into the same bracket – we all have different needs, we all want different things. Speak to your listener as if they are the only person there.
Be honest. Be authentic. Don’t be a faceless seller. His friends spoke of Sir Terry as being no different in real life to the character on screen or radio. Make your audience appreciate that the person they are dealing with is a true interpretation of who they are.
Approach all your ideas with humour, and don’t be drawn into the negative. Like Sir Terry, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! If you have worked with outstanding businesses, tell people. Speak positively of others and share that genuine appreciation so that others can learn from that. Always be supportive and encouraging. In the early stages of his career, Sir Terry had received death threats because of his Irish heritage, but even throughout this, he remained upbeat and kept quiet about the negative things happening within his life. This is invaluable advice to take on board when writing your own story online. Negativity just feeds more negativity and as a business you don’t want people switching off because of that.
In one of the many tributes we have read, Dermot O’Leary speaks of advice Sir Terry gave him when he started on Radio 2. He said if there was one thing on radio it was to ‘Never be afraid of the silence’, so in other words, stop, listen, don’t feel the need to gabble, less haste, and less speed.
One of Jeremy Vine’s most favourite memories is when the Queen visited Radio 2 and asked Sir Terry “how long have you worked here?” to which he responded “Your Majesty, I’ve never worked here.”
If you truly passionately believe in your business, your audience (whether just one or hundreds) and you are authentic, honest and genuine, you may just find that it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ to you either.
RIP Sir Terry Wogan 1938-2016