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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 – flipping the question

During an interview, the journalist will want to control the direction the interview is taking. Leading questions, speculative questions, loaded questions… they can all result in a response you may come to regret.  There are a number of tools and strategies for managing difficult questions.

cartoon-businessman-jumping-springboard-illustration-progress-concept-41144580

One of these is to flip the question by using a key word in the question as a springboard to take the conversation in a different direction.

We have mapped out a few examples of the types of difficult questions you can flip and use to your advantage.

 

 

Example one:

Question: “Isn’t it unfair to expect small businesses to comply with another regulation that will increase their costs?”

Answer:
What would be unfair is asking taxpayers to pay for the small number of businesses who will be affected by this regulation.”

Example two:

Question: “The change in legislation to reduce the amount of landfill was ineffective. Why would this amendment to the legislation help solve the problem?”

Answer: “What’s ineffective is doing nothing. This amendment to include small businesses will ensure the entire community is being made accountable in reducing landfill; therefore making the legislation much more effective.

Example three:
Question: “From the recent polls, you would have to agree that the momentum is in favour of the opposition.”

Answer: “Momentum is a funny thing, particularly with the polls. It changes daily and it isn’t a true reflection of where our party stands in the minds of the Australian people.”

Make sure you take the time to be prepared for your next interview. From our tips above, keep in mind the power of spring boarding from a potentially controversial question to a strong and well-thought out response.

 

 

Media Training: Trick questions

The interview is looming, you’ve rehearsed your key messages, as well as the call to action, (this could be directing your audience to your website for more information) and you’re feeling confident in your preparation techniques. So how do you handle the rough and tough questions, which can turn a well-prepared interview into a controversial headline? Here are the top three curly questions: speculative, false premise and accusatory questions.

Speculative questions:
Many journalists will try to trap you by pushing you to speculate about the unknown.  Many of these questions might seem innocuous; they’re questions asking you to predict the future and comment on the likelihood of a scenario; guessing the outcome. By answering speculative questions, a lot of damage can be done to your reputation, particularly if you guess wrong. Journalists can use sound bites from your response and use it against you in future interviews.

False premise questions:
Journalists may include a false premise in their questions with the aim of sensationalising your response. This line of questioning is common with political commentators for example, the question starts with a logical statement with an assumption that is false.

Accusatory questions:
This style of questioning is common when a journalist is chasing a story and looking for a defensive response. An example is a journalist approaching you unexpectedly either exiting a building or getting out of a vehicle. Being approached by a journalist with a microphone and camera pointing at you can be confronting.  Often the ensuing response is unprepared and defensive.  The best way to handle the situation is to keep calm; both in your tone and through your body language.

I’ve included a link to a CNN segment with the late Joan Rivers who was caught up in a interview full of accusatory questions. Watch as the interview derails as Ms Rivers becomes increasingly agitated and frustrated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-dNVjMwtVA

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 press conference: Maria Sharapova faces journalists over failed drug test

Sometimes when you have bad news its best to get in first.  Take action.  Get on the front foot.  Control the message. sharapovaThat’s exactly what Maria Sharapova did when she announced she had failed a drug test.  Journalists thought they were attending her retirement announcement.  What they got was a massive story no one saw coming.  Maria admitted her mistake. Explained why she had been taking the drug.  Apologised to her fans and to the tennis world.  Took full responsibility for the failed test.

There’s no doubt Maria will pay a penalty both in the form of a suspension and the likely fallout with her sponsors.  But in my view Maria Sharapova has done everything she can to protect her personal brand and reputation.  Sometimes the best thing you can do in a time of crisis is admit the mistake, apologise and be real.  Maria Sharapova did all of that in spades.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/sports/tennis/maria-sharapova-failed-drug-test.html?_r=0

 

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?