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Media training: be authentic and tell the truth

colesMedia training: be authentic and tell the truth
In what should have been a well-staged media conference, the Labour government failed to get it right when they chose a young man, employed by Coles, to represent those workers who will be impacted by the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality, restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers.

After the press conference, Coles released a statement saying the young man would be unaffected as he is employed under a enterprise agreement, which means the change in penalty rates would not apply to him.

We then uncover that the young man is a member of the ALP and recently posted on social media his support of the Labour government and his close relationship with the opposition leader, Mr Shorten.

Once the facts surfaced, the press conference became a talking point for all the wrong reasons. By not being authentic, and telling the truth, the story lost the desired outcome the ALP would have been hoping for. Not only has the press conference failed, the young man lost all credibility by misrepresenting the thousands of workers who will be negatively impacted by the Fair Work Commission’s decision.

During our media training sessions we go through many examples of what can go wrong when a spokesperson lies and fails to be authentic. We show the impact it has on their personal brand and the company brand. So our top tip for the young Coles employee is when fronting the media, be it live television, radio or being quoted in print media, you are responsible for telling the truth and being authentic. That also goes for posts on social media; if any conflicting messages have been posted on social media, they will surface, thanks to search engines. So, keep it real and be honest to ensure your key messages are not compromised.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/malcolm-turnbull-can-you-live-on-600/news-story/fb61a619bc25a4b9b8c67378a19e63de

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 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 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 Jennifer Lawrence

Some jokes just aren’t funny.  She maybe brilliant at delivering a scripted line but J.Law has revealed that when left to ad lib on the PR circuit her attempts at humour have ended in media training!  For many actors, sports stars and artists it can be a challenge balancing authenticity and personal brand with an organisational message.  Jennifer Lawrance has always been unpredictable and sassy and as she admits perhaps just a tad too honest!  Read the latest on J.Law and let us know what you think.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/she-died-jennifer-lawrence-recalls-the-clanger-that-landed-her-in-media-training/news-story/3e37e09dcb623bd2a0a1153752d84747

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 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?