David Altshuler, M.S.
(305) 978-8917 | david@davidaltshuler.com

WNEL

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A buddy of mine is extraordinary successful. He lectures for a living, has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN and countless other national media outlets. He has published more books than I've had hot meals and still finds time to run his training miles every week.

Alan joins our running group whenever he's in town, so it will come as no surprise that I reached out to him for advice on how to market my new book. The previous title--Love the Kid you Get. Get the Kid You Love--had sold dozens of copies and I was hoping to hit three-digit sales for my new tome. No one knows more about branding, marketing, and self promoting books than Alan.

To his credit--we've been friends for over half a century after all--he immediately reached out to contacts and arranged for me to be interviewed on WNEL. He even insisted on driving me to the station. "It's not that easy to get on TV the first time," he cautioned.

Given Alan's success in national media markets, you can imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a small building in a seedy part of town. I saw weeds growing out of cracks in the asphalt in the unkempt parking lot. Passing the entrance door covered with iron burglar bars, I saw mold on the ceiling and a dead plant in the lobby. The sound engineer, who clearly doubled as the bouncer, told us to wait on chairs that were already old and stained when The Honeymooners premiered.

"Welcome to WNEL," Alan said as we gingerly sat down.

You've never heard of WNEL, gentle reader? That's okay. Neither has anyone else. WNEL is what Alan calls "Nobody Ever Listens."

That said, I thought my on-air conversation went pretty well. I talked about college admissions, kids with learning differences, process addictions, and good parenting. The interviewer let me direct the dialog: it was clear to me that he was thinking about his next guest--an attractive 30-something who ran an automotive supply shop--more than he was focused on my insights into how to raise healthy kids in an unhealthy world. In short, I said what I had to say.

But no one was listening--not even the person doing the interview. When I was through with my 15 minutes of--and I use the term loosely--"fame," Alan was engrossed in dictating notes for his next book, his 20th, I believe. Even my buddy who had set up the gig and driven me there hadn't listened.

"How did it go?" he asked.

"Pretty well, I think," I responded. "But I don't think anyone was listening.

"Probably not," Alan agreed. "You have a face for radio."

***

Given that Alan had been partially responsible for two of my greatest joys in life--he introduced me to both ultra-marathon running and collecting comic books--I left the snarky remark alone. But I did ask him why he drove me across town to an interview on a station that no one would hear. I saw it as a gig that would not benefit me in any foreseeable way. No one listening to that show was going to buy a book on parenting; no one listening to that show was going to become a client; indeed, no one was listening to that show at all.

"What gives?" I asked.

"The first time you do the Oprah Winfrey Show should not be the first time you do a TV interview," he said. "It should be your 200th time."

Ah.

Similarly, the first time you have a conversation with your child about reproductive biology should not be the first time you have a conversation with your child. Having a hundred little conversations with your kids about nothing important lays the groundwork for the big conversation down the road about something critical.

How do we inspire our beloved children to look forward to our interactions? By asking open ended questions and LISTENING to--rather than judging--their responses. Whether your response to, "I got a 90 on a math test" is a supportive, "You got a 90, that's so great!" or a derisive, "You got a 90? Don't they give 100s at your school?" you are taking responsibility for your child's feelings. Why not allow reflection rather than being a hijacker?

"How about that?" or "What do you think?" are responses more likely to engender introspection and growth. Children are much more likely to be responsive if they feel they are valued rather than corrected or interrogated.

And besides, the more answers they give to open ended questions, the more likely they are to be well prepared for their interviews--on WNEL or the Oprah Winfrey Show.

David

David

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Copyright © David Altshuler 2019    |    Miami, FL • Charlotte, NC     |    (305) 978-8917    |    david@davidaltshuler.com