I'm a Communications/Media Executive With a Past Life on TV and a Passion for All Things Communication & Presentation

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MEDIA TRAINING: Why Your First Answer Is SO Critical

Only as Good as Your FIRST Response
How many time have you watched a political debate or a newsworthy interview and been quickly impressed with someone based on how they handled the first question that came their way? 
    Or, can you think of a time when the first words out of someone’s mouth immediately turned you off?

    In my line of work, we spend a lot of time preparing for media interviews, or appearances on panels in front of audiences.  It’s not about being scripted, but it IS about being prepared.

     "Anticipation" is the most important word I could share when thinking about your next opportunity in front of an audience. Imagine you’re on a five -person “expert” panel at a conference where you’re asked to share your ideas and experiences in your field of expertise.

You Are Always Measured Against Your Peers

·         * What would the audience think if your first comments were bland, uninteresting?

·         * What would the audience think if your first answer didn’t sound or feel authoritative?

·        *  What would the audience think if you simply seemed unprepared?

   Nobody wants to come across as unprepared.  That’s the worst thing that could come from an opportunity like this.

   But here’s what’s critical. 

   Your first response shapes the audience’s image of you for the rest of the interview or speaking opportunity.  Come out of the gate with an unimpressive answer delivered with low energy and passion and it drastically affects your credibility with the audience for the remainder of your appearance.  And the rest of the panel just became FAR MORE credible because of your ill-prepared or ill-advised response.

How YOU Use the Mic Changes How Others Must Deliver

   Conversely, if you open any interview or discussion with a bang and deliver a first answer that’s well thought out, well-prepared … and delivered with passion and conviction…. you’ve immediately stated your case as deserving of the stage and the spotlight.  Think of the most important thing you want to say and deliver it early and with authority!

  So, it doesn’t matter if it’s an interview, or a moderated panel, or a Q&A format.  Make sure you remember the importance of a first impression and deliver something that sticks!

   Thanks as always for reading this blog and sharing with others.  I always welcome your comments … here or directly on Twitter @KraigKann 

Don't Get Caught Unprepared

Thought for the Day:   When your next speaking opportunity is over with, you’ll always second-guess something.  Just don’t let preparedness be one of those things.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MEDIA TRAINING: Relax, You Can Become a Quote Machine Too!

Are You Truly "Quotable?"
How many interviews have you done?  How many quotes have you seen in print in the days following the interview?

Are you proud of them?  Did they serve your goals?  Would they make somebody go "hmmm" in a positive way?

These are just some of the questions I've asked myself, and ask others as well, after they finish doing an interview.

Consistently, people are most nervous before the tape recorder ever goes on or the question ever comes from the reporter's mouth.

Nervousness is common, and real.  I admit to thinking about what I'll say and how I'll say it.  But in most cases, it's after I spent time anticipating what was - potentially - coming my way.

Anticipate the Questions

I've had the pleasure of working with some real "pros" when it comes to pushing out the message and being engaging in the process.  It's not easy and the good or great ones make it look that way.

Here's the key in four words for me:

* Anticipate
* Prepare
* Relax
* Deliver

Lastly, you can never underestimate the importance of stepping into a media interview relaxed.  And only then can you truly "deliver."  Nerves and anxiety don't lead to good sound bites or clear messaging.  True ... much of that comes through knowing your material and feeling good about the direction of the questions and your messaging.  But I can tell you this for sure... a few laughs and some casual conversation before any interview - be it with journalists, co-workers or familiar faces is a huge help.  In other words, do your preparation and then "let it go" and focus on your delivery. 
A relaxed person delivers conversation, not calculated commentary.  And for me, I'll always put my money on the conversationalist to deliver the best sound bite or quote.  He's more open, less guarded, and more real.  To me, if you know your material, and you can find your way into the "delivery room" with a smile on your face, that's the way to reading your quotes with pride and ownership - and making an impact in the process.

Worthy of Reading?  Or Headed for Trash?
Don't let your interview get tossed in the trash or turned into a paper airplane that's unworthy of anyone's short attention span.  Make them read it and make them take notice.

Thanks so much for reading this blog and sharing with others.  I always welcome your thoughts and you can do that here or directly to me on Twitter @KraigKann

Thought of the Day: Your next business partnership could come from the results of your next media interview.  The message you deliver is a powerful thing.