Posts

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: When you’re unprepared you’ll end up uncovered.

In another media training “what not to do” example, this week Labor MP Emma Husar, got caught out by a cameraman after contradicting herself during a media interview about news polls.

When you watch the interview you wonder, what was the point of her media address?  What was she planning to achieve?  This is a big reminder about planning your messages no matter how simple they might seem.  What should have been a concise statement became a tangled mess of contradictions.

Ms Husar strangely engages in a conversation with the cameraman. After asking what he was laughing at, the new Labour MP clearly wasn’t ready for his reply and abruptly ends the door stop press call.

Here’s is the link to the interview.  Let me know what you think.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/11/08/17/40/new-labor-mp-calls-out-reporter-during-press-conference

 

 

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 for a crisis #censusfail

After a disastrous night of online frustration for Australians, the much-hyped National Australian Census campaign is now in damage control. Yet, I had to laugh this morning after hearing radio adverts thanking the Australian public on sitting down and completing the online form.

I can bet that the ABS is in meltdown mode this morning lining up spokespeople- political and industry experts- defending it’s actions on shutting down the site. So what kind of media risk mitigation strategy did the ABS have in place? Obviously nothing. The site was taken offline around 7:30pm, but the ABS was still telling people to log in, via Twitter, as late as 9:54pm.

Planning for the worst-case scenario, particularly in the online environment is critical. Holding statements need to be drafted, screen shots with clear communication made available (no one wants to see, oops this page is currently unavailable) and most importantly, your key spokesperson needs to be prepared to make a genuine and sincere apology.

In one of the first of many interviews today, David Kalisch, the chief statistician with the Bureau of Statistics told ABC radio, in a very robotic fashion, the series of events that led to the site being shut down. Yes, the cause was explained. Yes, reassurance was offered regarding the privacy details of those 2 million who were able to submit their forms. Yet the simplest of actions is still missing– a genuine and sincere apology.

When a product launch over promises and under delivers, the public backlash can be brutal. With social media now trending, #censusfail the much-anticipated campaign is now a disaster and making world headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Take a listen to David’s radio interview on ABC Radio and tell us what you think.

http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/content/s4515560.htm

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 bloopers: Mathias Cormann

mathiasOh how a political campaign can deliver some great media moments.  Today the Gold Medal would have to go to our Finance Minister Mathias Cormann – who somehow seemed to mix up his leader the PM Malcolm Turnbull with Labor’s Bill Shorten.

If you missed it here’s a clip.  I wonder…. what was he thinking?

 

Media training: live radio

1458004497681There’s nothing like a fiery debate on talk back radio – especially when the interviewee gets hot under the collar. For the host, in this case, Neil Mitchell, its the kind of heated, sensationalist discussion that gets the phone lines jammed with passionate callers all desperate to contribute their own views.  Its talk back gold which is why this discussion runs much longer than a regular interview.

Anthony Kelly is the Executive Officer at the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre.  He agreed to be interviewed in the knowledge he had an opposing view to Mitchell. Listen as Anthony Kelly becomes more and more agitated, frustrated and angry.

In this kind of forum emotions need to be kept in check.  Be clear on your messages and above all else remain calm.  Towards the end of the interview Neil Mitchell doesn’t say much – letting Mr Kelly do all the colourful talking.

And remember – the radio host will always have final say.

Neil Mitchell talks about Melbourne riots with Anthony Kelly 

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?

Media training; why social media is now mainstream

There has been a lot of commentary about Hillary Clinton’s official announcement to run for President of the United States of America in 2016. Hillary chose to release an online video, which went viral with an accompanying tweet, to let the world know her plans for the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
No longer reliant on journalists, politicians are increasingly taking control of their own news via social media channels.   President Obama led the way in 2007 when he capitalised on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to launch his political agenda for his place in the White House. While previous Presidential campaigns have used the internet, none had taken full advantage of social networking platforms quite like Obama and his team.
Fast forward eight years and social media is no longer an extra or ”add-on” media outlet.  Social media is not only being used in a social way, but is used in ‘breaking news’; fast, realtime, up to the second, news.   So why are so many organisations still  reluctant to embark on and embrace social media as a powerful tool armed alongside its counterparts such as radio, TV and print media? Social media is no longer the new kid on the block or a fad but another effective and transparent way to engage with your audience. A social media strategy is just as vital to your business as your media and communication strategy.
What do you think of her video?