Paul Heyman says the trick to a great promo is understanding the environment and context the speaker finds themselves in.
Heyman, currently working alongside Roman Reigns on WWE Smackdown, has been the master of the promo for over 20 years, and recently cut notable exchanges on the microphone on both the blue brand and its accompanying show, Talking Smack.
The former ECW head and Raw Executive Producer says knowing what you're trying to sell, and understanding the platform you're utilising, are crucial aspects to cutting a successful promo.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Heyman said: "You have to read the room. If not, you’re a nostalgia act before you’re even cognizant of the fact that time has passed you by. In some ways it hasn’t changed. I still ask myself, ‘What’s my goal? What am I selling?’ I’m a salesman, I’m a hype artist, I’m an interest-facilitator. My job is to get you interested in the product, in the personalities I’m selling, in the match I want you to witness, subscribe and buy.
"With Talking Smack, the medium is different; the platform is different. It’s like comparing Twitter to Instagram. The promo that I did on SmackDown, the ‘Yes! Yes! Yes! No! No! No!’ promo was all about just how great Daniel Bryan is and why that demonstrates the enormity of Roman Reigns’ star power—because as great as Daniel Bryan is and all he’s overcome, he’ll never overcome Roman Reigns.
"The promos on Talking Smack are not the same as SmackDown. SmackDown is a two-hour network show that has multiple story lines. Talking Smack is exactly the title of the show; we’re out there talking smack. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere without the time constraints, and it’s conversation.
"While the job is always to hype and create interest and awareness, it’s not with theatrics and a raised voice. It’s more of a ‘Let’s have breakfast, lunch or dinner together, and let me tell you why Roman Reigns is the end-all, be-all attraction in sports entertainment today.’"