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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: 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 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 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 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: Malcolm Turnbull unsuccessfully tries to dodge questions about Bronwyn Bishop

malcolm turnbullOur Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull is an experienced media operator having been interviewed by journalists hundreds of times.  Listen to his interview this morning with Michael Brissenden from ABC Radio’s AM program.  Mr Turnbull attempts to take control of the interview and dodge questions about the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop – it’s a verbal tug of war to begin with but in the end Michael Brissenden wins the battle!  Note that as soon as Mr Turnbull breaks and provides commentary on Ms Bishop there are several more questions about Ms Bishop and entitlements to come.

Malcolm Turnbull vs Michael Brissenden