How to Be a Good Commentator

Connecting with your audience is important.
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Good commentary details action while providing viewers with supplemental information. Good commentators maintain viewer attention and enthusiasm during low action and spark dynamic emotional responses during peak action. Knowing how to evoke the appropriate audience response is essential whether your field is sports, politics or entertainment.

    Step 1

    Separate yourself from other commentators. Ask yourself important questions such as “What makes my insight valuable?” and “Why should listeners listen to me over the competition?” Develop your own catchphrases, humor and transition styles for added appeal. Ensuring that your voice shines through your work will help you create memorable commentary.

    Step 2

    Do your homework -- even though you may be a subject matter expert. There is no substitute for keeping abreast of current information. Take notes about your subject paying special attention to breaking news. Review buzz from social media and traditional media outlets to uncover interesting angles. Avoid simply regurgitating well-known facts, as this calls the usefulness of your commentary into question.

    Step 3

    Add to the action without overshadowing it. Subdue urges to divert attention from key moments -- even if your observations are valid. Wait for natural talking points to emerge from the event instead of forcing them. Good commentary acts as seasoning while the action is the main course.

    Step 4

    Balance color commentary with play-by-play analysis. Infuse down time with background information about your subject. Employ vivid language and voice modulation when describing action. Avoid going off on tangents as this may cause you to miss important happenings.

    Step 5

    Share your personal experiences without appearing smug. Giving the audience first-hand accounts of what it’s like to perform a triple vault or deliver a campaign speech adds weight to your opinions. Offer analysis that embodies your passion and respect for the event. Avoid badmouthing or downplaying the significance of milestones -- even if you’ve witnessed better performances.

    Step 6

    Speak with authority and confidence -- even when verbal mishaps occur. Handle uneasy moments such as miscues, Freudian slips and pronunciation gaffes with professionalism as panicking will only prolong uncomfortable moments. Practice saying difficult names and explaining complicated concepts prior to going live. Say tongue twisters in your spare time to improve fluency.


    • Studying the commentary of the greats and the not-so-greats can help you develop a solid style.

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