Joan AurittJoan Auritt

In this era of social media dominance, authenticity has emerged as the essential quality to being an effective and respected communicator.  And in fact, it should be at the core of any good media training and presentation training for any platform.

With authenticity as the guiding principle, here are five useful media training tips to set you or your spokesperson on course for a successful PR campaign.

1. An interview is different from a conversation.

Protect your spokesperson from falling into that comfortable two-way conversation trap. Remember the reporter is just a conduit to the TV and radio audience, the newspaper, magazine and online media reader, the influencer fan.

2. Find the heart of the story and distill it.

In many cases your spokesperson is too immersed the details to create easily grasped, impactful messages. Collaborating to help them craft the key messages along with easily grasped supporting points and engaging stories results in appearances that leave their audiences wanting to learn more.

3. Respond rather than react.

Spokespersons should avoid negative statements even if the questions they’re answering beg for a rebuttal. Banish phrases like, “I don’t mean to say that…” I don’t want to give the impression that…” Keep emotion from triggering a negative reaction. Stay on track, breathe, respond in a positive manner and only say WHAT IS.           

4. Speak confidently minus “umms” and “uhhs.”

We all use fillers for thinking time to come up with what we’re going to say next. Here’s an exercise that will help your spokespersons lose the umms and deliver the message with confidence:

With a recording device like a smart phone, pick a nearby object and talk about it for 30 seconds. When an umm is coming on, pause and then go on.  With frequent practice over the course of time, the umms and uhhs will fade away.

5. Show passion and boost the energy.

Low energy is a communication killer. Even if spokespersons see themselves as lively communicators, they still can kick it up at least another 30%--especially when doing video. Projecting genuine interest engages the audience and makes them care.

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Joan Auritt is President of Auritt Communications Group in New York City.  She can be reached at joan.auritt@auritt.com.