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Public speaking and managing nerves

Many Executives we work with are terrified of public speaking. Whether it is addressing the press or sitting in the hot seat in a live interview, the very thought of either can send high-powered business leaders into a spin.  We feature a number of presentation delivery lessons geared to help you with your next public address.
1. Eye contact – the glance and grab affect

First thing first, establish and hold eye contact with the reporter/audience. Eye contact builds trust, and creates a sense of engagement with your audience. In your interview, or public address you may be offered the use of a teleprompter (there is now an app for this!). You need to speak fluidly with natural pauses and inflections, and not read straight from the prompter. The trick is to glance and grab a phrase while maintaining eye contact giving the impression you are speaking directly to the audience.

2. Yes, you can use notes, but only as a guide

Many times clients will ask to use notes when speaking, and the answer is yes. Just like the use of a teleprompter, you need to glance and grab the next point from your notes with the goal of speaking to your audience and not at your script.  The key is knowing what you want to say and using the notes only to keep the facts straight and guide your delivery i.e. beginning, middle and end. This can be particularly useful when you only have a short time to speak.

3. Body language and facial expressions

A great interview or public address can all come undone with a roll of the eyes (think Julie Bishop’s recent reaction to budget cuts).  This can happen when a reporter or audience member asks a question that comes left of field, or that you’re not prepared to answer. Your look needs to translate as calm, professional and well-equipped to answer any question that comes your way. In other words, employ your pokerface.
4. The mirror is your friend
Practice your posture and the way you stand before your interview or speech. Be aware of your tone of voice. Take your time with your responses and maintain a calm and professional presence. If you are delivering a speech, or a presentation practice purposeful gestures.  If you want to move around, make sure you move deliberately and with purpose.  Otherwise stand strong and still.
 
Everyone’s different.  We’d love to hear your ideas on how you manage nerves.  Imaging the audience in its underwear might be old school but maybe there’s some other strategies you’ve employed that have really helped?

Media training and your personal brand.

cate campbell

Australian swimming champion Cate Campbell went into the Rio Olympics as the favourite in the 100 metres freestyle and one of our highest profile athletes.

But in her own words Cate “choked”.  She lost her race and upon reflection she believes she lost a lot more than just a medal.

Cate spoke to the Herald’s Phil Lutton about her time in Rio, her experience with the media and her decision to pull back on publicity and social media.  With time to reflect and some introspection, Cate admits that perhaps in her quest to please she forgot about her own needs and values.  That her personal boundaries were pushed so far out she lost all sense of privacy and that she lost control of her personal brand.

The article is a great read but also a reminder to all athletes (and for that matter anyone who deals with the media) to think carefully about their personal brand and their boundaries.  What’s really important to me?  Who am I and how can I best represent that? Am I willing to answer any question?  Or are there some things I want to keep private?

Here is a link to Phil Lutton’s story.  Its a great read.

http:/http://www.smh.com.au/sport/swimming/after-the-heartache-of-rio-a-refreshed-cate-campbell-can-finally-come-up-for-air-20170120-gtvafp.html

 

 

 

 

Media training tips– the journalist is not your audience

When you speak to journalists its important to remember that an interview is not a conversation.  We address this in our media training workshops as too often, I observe the interviewee  becoming far too comfortable and familiar with the journalist forgetting that a journalist is not a friend.

Sure it helps to build rapport but in the end it’s the journalist’s audience that you are really trying to connect with.  The journalist serves as a conduit to that audience.

Here are three useful tips to make sure you’re directing your communication to your audience:

  • visualise who you’re speaking to
  • keep your key messages aimed at the audience’s level of understanding, not the journalist
  • don’t get personal with the journalist – and if you are going to use the journalist’s name make sure you get it right!

Here former PM Tony Abbott makes a complete hash of an interview with David Koch.

Former PM Tony Abbott speaks to David Koch

 

Media Training: Sales owns interview, not the PM

After appearing on last night’s 7:30 program, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would have been hoping for today’s headlines to signify the billion dollar innovation package he launched alongside Minister for Innovation, Christopher Pine. However, the headlines today tell a different story: I ask the questions on this program… Leigh Sales reinforced during their 15minute interview.

So how did it all go so wrong? How did the Prime Minister fail to sell the major benefits of this generous innovation package? Was the subject discussed so dry and dull that the journalist seized the opportunity to keep her viewers interested by throwing up several hard-hitting unrelated questions?

What this interview shows us is that not only do you need to be well-briefed and prepared on the details of your topic (in which Mr Turnbull was not, stumbling to answer obvious how, why, what and where questions) but having answers ready—or at least linking and bridging techniques sorted—for those hard-hitting, uncomfortable questions on current political issues floating around.

Another observation of the Prime Minister’s interview was his frequent shifts in body language, particularly when the tough questions started to fly. Not only is it distracting, it can be perceived as incriminating. If you prepare in advance for the worst questions you could face, you can help avoid that physical response.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4367704.htm

What did you think of last night’s interview? Are today’s headlines a fair representation of how it unfolded?

Nat Fyfe: Brownlow Medal Winner and A Grade Communicator

1443492135945Nat Fyfe deserves a second medal for a speech that was humble, self deprecating, warm, funny and eloquent all at the same time!  A great role model for his young fans (my 12 year old son included). It’s so refreshing to see a sports man who can communicate as well as he can play!

http://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/brownlow-2015-video-nat-fyfe-delivers-hilarious-acceptance-speech-with-bruce-mcavaney/story-fndv7pj3-1227548462603

 

Media Training Case Study

Peter Greste

This week we saw Al Jazeera journalist, Mr Peter Greste walk free from a seven-year jail sentence in Egypt. Mr Greste was found guilty based on evidence that he had in his possession, namely video footage, supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood but his lawyers have said there was absolutely no substance to the allegations.

During his 400 days in prison, he maintained his innocence and was able to manage his expectations well throughout the process with the support of his family. It was during his press conference in Brisbane we all witnessed that love and support as his family sat by him while he delivered his sincere and very poignant address to his fellow members of the media.

Without a doubt, Mr Greste nailed the press conference. He began by genuinely thanking his family, this was heartfelt and meaningful and certainly came across on camera. Mr Greste tells a story, it is vivid and personal. His experience draws you in – this is a great technique to use when dealing with the media. He also names the campaign his family, along with the media, embarked on in order to release him – Journalism is not a crime #FreeAJstaff. He links the campaign to his social media sites – a clever call to action. What are your thoughts on his press conference?

Peter Greste

Media training: Marshawn Lynch goes OTT with his key message!

So it’s one thing to prepare a key message and weave it into a media interview…. it’s a whole new ball game (pardon pun) to do a Marshawn Lynch … but gee did he get worldwide attention and I think we all got the message!  If you missed him take a look:

Marshawn Lynch

Media training: perfecting your brand message in an interview 

In our media training workshops, we will often get through an entire practice interview without a single mention of the organisation, or product the interviewee is there to talk about. When you have questions being fired at you it’s easy to forget exactly why you are there.

Even more surprising are the number of people we’ve worked with who have struggled to articulate exactly what their organisation does!

So how do you ensure your brand message comes through? Here are some tips to help with your interview preparation.

  1. Who are you/your company?
    Who you are may relate to your vision and mission. Who do you want to be and how do you plan to leave your mark? These messages embody the core of your being, your values, and your competitive advantages.
  2. What do you do?
    In basic terms, clearly and succinctly articulate what product or service you offer or provide to your clients. This isn’t a sales pitch so stick to the facts.
  3. What benefit do you bring to the audience?
    Tell it as if someone else, an objective third party, was sharing it with a friend or colleague. It’s easier to trust that third-party voice, and it’s the same voice journalists write in, so it may help your story get picked up if your message is well-crafted.
  4. What evidence do you have to support your position?
    This could be in the form of awards, recognition or testimonials from your best clients. Anything you can offer to validate your claims will enhance your credibility.

Once you have the messaging developed, it becomes your bible to inform and influence all content development, from your website to a media kit and the boilerplate of press releases. It will also play into advertising content, if you place paid media. So now there’s a consistent voice across all platforms: earned (editorial), owned (website and social media) and paid (advertising).

 

Premier Mike Baird silenced by City Rail

Outdoor interview at a train station – what could possibly go wrong?

Who plans a press conference on a station platform in peak hour?

Not sure the Premier was going for laughs but this makes for very funny viewing.

Mike Baird struggles to be heard

 

Sharing your life experiences is a brave way to connect with your audience.

In business we often steer away from revealing personal experiences, for fear of ‘over sharing’ in the work place.   Being “authentic” at work doesn’t always extend to what’s really going on in our personal lives.

Today, Channel 9’s Georgie Gardner stepped out from her news reader role to share a very personal story about miscarriage and the ongoing emotional effect it has on her family. Georgie’s decision to share her story is a brave one and will no doubt resonate with many women (and their partners) who have also experienced miscarriage.
We all have our own personal stories that shape us and have the potential to connect us to not just friends and family but work colleagues, clients and associates.  Don’t be frightened to share them.  Bravo Georgie!