How Long Does A Can Of Formula Last After Opening What Speakers Can Learn From Paul Harvey’s Success Formula

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What Speakers Can Learn From Paul Harvey’s Success Formula

Paul Harvey, the well-known radio host of “Paul Harvey News and Comment” and “The Rest of the Story,” enjoyed unusual airtime and longevity. At the age of 82, he signed a ten-year contract with ABC Radio worth $10 million a year. When he died in 2008 at the age of 90, eight years. In addition to being a favorite of his employers and sponsors for decades, he had built up a hugely devoted audience of 24 million a week who could hear him on 1,200 commercial radio stations and 400 stations on the Armed Forces Network.

Why did so many millions listen to him for so many years? What can every speaker learn from Paul Harvey’s success?

First, he didn’t let criticism bother him or discourage him.

When he was working at a station in Missoula, Montana—a place not unlike the Chicago “Miracle Mile” he would become so familiar with years later—the station owner told Paul, “You’ve got a silly, funny voice. Honestly, you’ll never make it in the news business. You not a believable sound for news. It’s distracting. People don’t trust you.” The manager fired Harvey, who refused the ad sales offer.

Well, let’s apply it to us. Most novice performers encounter critics who give them painful feedback. You may hear “bad eye contact,” “can’t understand your mumbling,” or “stop fussing so much.” We certainly benefit from evaluating the accuracy of these comments, but we still want to keep our confidence high while we make the necessary corrections.

Second, he stuck to his unique style.

The Kalamazoo, Michigan, manager didn’t like Harvey’s on-air voice breaks. The manager thought Harvey was just wasting valuable time. After politely listening, Paul agreed to “shorten the tactic, but not completely eliminate it.” Eventually, hordes of listeners recognized his trademark pauses and stood by patiently—excitedly, even—until the next intriguing words came.

You also want to stick to your own distinct style if you use good taste and your audience understands you. Let’s say express delivery comes naturally to you. Counselors may advise you to slow down. However, you will feel that the accelerated pace will keep you energized and your audience on their toes. Stick to what works for you.

Third, Paul Harvey used suspense with the skills of a mystery writer.

On his regular shows, he would ask listeners what would happen in the next section after saying “Page Two” or “Page Three” as his favorite transition instructions. His “Rest of the Story” then featured a longer portrayal of someone who had accomplished something remarkable, but Harvey withheld the character’s name until the last sentence.

As speakers, we can keep our audience engaged by starting our speech with something like a “teaser,” such as, “When I was eight years old, I had an accident that led to an experience that saved my life. Amazing , I wrote with my parents’ consent because of an experimental drug used by doctors medical history. But before I share this story with you, I want you to think of a really dramatic moment in your life that you’re willing to tell us Now. While some of you have told your story, I’ll tell mine.”

Fourth, Harvey featured everyday people, not just internationally renowned leaders.

Although he became well acquainted with famous celebrities, statesmen, and religious leaders, he rarely mentioned names. His show usually featured a hurricane victim who rebuilt his life and business, a young athlete who eventually made the national team, or a teacher who paid special attention to disadvantaged children.

Here’s the point for speakers: Audiences will welcome your stories about ordinary people they can easily relate to. Instead of talking about a famous actress, describe your neighbor’s daughter who got the acting bug at age three in a school play, went on to take acting and singing lessons, and is now starring in your community theater’s production of South Pacific.

In conclusion: Paul Harvey succeeded – for an extraordinarily long time – in a very difficult business, not because of a secret of success hidden from the public and the competition. He did what we can do to become great speakers: overcome criticism, stick to his preferred style, create excitement, and bring out the commonplace that listeners can relate to quite easily. We may not attract millions of listeners, but those who do hear us welcome our homegrown creativity.

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