We started this series off talking about the importance of a weather program in your school with the bottom line, “While other parts of your show may get stale, the weather story is constantly changing.”
We then transitioned into the organization of the team and your weather department. We established that “Organization is one of the most important parts of the school weather system: It creates a system that sets the standard of your coverage.” From there we were ready to start evaluating how we wanted to cover weather. We said you shouldn’t just copy and paste the information from the weather app on your phone into your graphics. It is essential to find a few different sources and compare information. We discussed how to create an essential order of your weather segment and last month we left off talking about Graphics and their importance.
By now, your school has the main ideas down and can create a weather segment. We’re going to wrap up our series covering some small details that make the big difference. Being some on air fundamentals and techniques to help you better convey the weather story.
I’m going to give these tips in a list format:
● Stop sailboating: I tried to find a video example of this on YouTube but was unsuccessful. At JCNN, we use the term sailboating to define the act of swaying or rocking back and forth on camera. This often times stems from nervousness which your viewers will very quickly notice. Don’t move unnecessarily, which takes us into our next topic:
● Knowing when to move: I’ve seen videos of meteorologists who spend their entire segment walking, often times from one side to the other on the screen. Plant your feet. You shouldn’t have to move within one or two feet of your original distance at any time during your segment (given that your graphics have a certain area on the right or left side where a meteorologist can stand). In the same way, make sure you’re not covering up any graphics especially while you’re talking about them.
● Use your hands: Contrary to your feet being planted, most of your movement should be in your hands. From pointing to information your want to highlight to using gestures, using your hands make you look much more comfortable on air.
● Don’t just read: we talked about this earlier in the series, but it’s importance is imminent. Don’t just read the graphics off the powerpoint. Don’t get me wrong: half the purpose of graphics is to give the talent notes to follow. But as we talked about, viewers want their information quickly. For example, when you read the five day forecast, don’t just read the temperature of each day: sum it by saying “temperatures in the mid to upper seventies for a high.”
● Show friendship: Last year we tried something new at JCNN. On air, we had the weather host start the weather segment by standing at the anchor desk with the news anchors and engaging in a brief conversation about the weather before walking over for the green screen shot. This has worked so well because it gives the audience a sense of friendship and community within the team. Your audience wants to see that you’re connected, like a family. This also allows the audience to get a better feel for your personality.
● Be Transparent: In the same way that your audience wants to see community with your team, they also want to feel connected with you. Whether you believe it or not, they want to know about you as a person, not just as a meteorologist. Don’t hesitate to hint the audience into your personal life with your forecast. For example, if you’re an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, don’t be afraid to say “it will be a little chilly as you’re making your way from the car to the FCA Meeting Friday morning.” If your favorite band is playing downtown this weekend, don’t be afraid to add a slide in saying what the weather will be for that concert. This is one of the most important parts of presentation. This helps your presentation to be much more personable and will draw the viewers in because they will feel as if they know you.
● Be Professional: Whether it’s on camera or off, be professional. Be polite. Be someone that your team and your viewers look forward to being with or hearing from. Yourself, your forecast and your program will succeed greatly if you have people in it who make the environment positive. The energy and style of your forecast will come out to be much more inviting if you allow it to me. Be polite. You never know-- your future boss may be watching your forecast.
As we wrap up our series, I wanted to leave you with one piece of advice that so many people don’t get right away. As always, be confident. This basically sums up much of what we talked about, but its importance is so vital. When you’re comfortable, your audience is comfortable. When you’re anxious, your audience is anxious.
When I was in eighth grade, I was getting ready to go on air. I came in late and left myself with very little time to create any sort of graphics. It just so happened that nearly the entire news team was late that day. As the floor manager counted me down, the butterflies in my stomach got stronger and stronger. I knew we hadn’t prepared enough. To make a long story short, everything went terribly wrong. Transitions between slide to slide were off, the control had the wrong source keyed to the green screen and once it was on and my graphics were very poorly made. The five day graphics ended up saying that the high temperatures were going to range from 650 to 730 degrees throughout the week. But this was a critical learning experience: even if everything goes wrong, there’s still tomorrow. Make corrections to your errors, discuss ways to improve with your team, then rest assured in your work and the work of your team members. If I could sum up the most important point every meteorologist has more than one segment where everything goes wrong. Learn from the mistakes that were made and move on.