As a card carrying feminist, it’s hard to like Howard Stern. I can’t go so far as to call him a misogynist because I think he truly likes women, but the way he has objectified the female sex over the years makes it very hard to listen to his show for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. I have reached for the seek button more times than I can count.
But I respect his communication skills. Aspiring public speakers can learn a lot from him (did you hear that David Axelrod?). Here are a few skills and attributes that I think we can all learn from:
1.He rarely uses a word filler. His speech patterns are clear and easy to follow – even when you are in heavy traffic and trying to get to work on time.
2.He connects to his audience. Howard allows himself to be vulnerable. He shares his insecurities, his fears and his foibles. He’s willing to tell the truth while other pundits dance around the issue.
3.He doesn’t ramble on and on, but seems to know how to cut to the chase and bring out the most salient points of a particular topic, thereby maintaining the attention of his audience.
4.He makes people laugh, without telling canned jokes.
5.He was born with a great voice for radio, but he also knows how to use his resonators – the larynx, pharynx, soft palette, hard palette, sinuses, – all the parts that help us create a more pleasing and more interesting sound, and that makes people want to listen.
He may be a 15-year-old adolescent trapped in an adult body, but he has honed is speaking craft and for that he gets props from me.