I have been helping people prepare presentations or get ready for media interviews for more than 20 years and, not surprisingly, there are themes, issues and problems that arise regularly.
With presentations, I see a number of common errors. With media training, it's more a case of explaining something that seems foreign (and more than a little terrifying).
I hope the following thoughts help.
Common presentation errors
- Not having a clear idea of what the message is, and therefore what the content should be.
- Writing for the eye not the ear.
- Not having a clear idea of what the visuals will be, so you use them badly or have to later adapt the content to fit them.
- Trying to paraphrase everything in an accompanying written paper or, at the other extreme, ignoring it completely.
- Not preparing the presentation to suit the audience and your allotted space in the program.
- Being overly passive in tone and even apologetic in delivery. However strong or weak you feel your content is, make it a show.
- Not using the opportunity to subtly promote yourself and your business.
Tips for media interviews (whatever the media)
- Keep it simple and avoid jargon and dead words such as "facilitated". Imagine you are explaining the issue to an educated 15 year old.
- Have three key points you want to make - and make them!
- Be prepared for possible negatives. It doesn't mean you are being set up. Often negative questions get the best responses.
- Be prepared for abrupt changes of topic. Interviews are not like conversations.
- Be yourself and talk like you always to. Certainly never swear, even mildly.
- Be honest. If you can't answer something, say so.
- Remember that an "interview" starts as soon as you start talking to a journalist. They gather information as and when they can, not in designated set periods.
Of course, there are other specific "rules" for television, radio and live-to-air interviews.
Learning to handle media interviews is also good training for making presentations because it helps you to focus on what are the key messages!
Please contact me if you would like to learn more.