The difference in being ignored on the air and actually being heard is often a small thing. Even the greatest content or story is wasted if the audience has tuned out. And the difference between getting the listener to lean in to hear more and hitting the scan button often comes down to crafting a compelling hook that gets the break off to a fast start.
The hook is the first of five steps in storytelling. The others are Set Up, Dress Up, Pay Off and Black Out. All five steps are important, but if attention isn’t gained in the first few seconds, the rest of the story isn’t heard.
And, a compelling hook can make personal stories much more relatable, and it sets the stage for luring listeners into longer TSL. But that’s where it gets tricky. A great hook should point to the pay off. But it can’t give away the ending. I’ve heard personalities who start a break by telling me the end of the story.
You won’t believe where I ran into Justin timberlake last night at the concert.
Okay, you just told me the end. You ran into Justin Timberlake. Cool. Now there’s little reason to listen. But the hook can’t just be random, either. It has to have a connection to the pay off. That’s where the art of creative preparation comes in.
But most personalities don’t put enough time into crafting hooks during the prep process.