Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Media Coach 31st May 2013

Hints and tips for media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; A weekend in Glasgow; The Apprentice; Voices of Summer; Bill Pertwee; A perfect scone; Web-proofing your speech; I want news and I want it now; A thousand words worth; An interview with Patricia Fripp; Music from Mick Terry.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to web-proof your speeches.

As speakers, our job is to make people think and act differently. There's no point going on stage and saying. "You know that stuff you always do? Just keep doing it". We need to challenge our audiences. We need to encourage them to challenge what they hear. Of course, that means they will challenge what we say too.


Almost everyone in our audiences are connected to the web, and will carry on using it as we speak. It will take them a fraction of a second to verify statements we make. They look at our sites, our blogs, our Facebook posts and our tweets. They form an impression of us not just from our words and actions on stage, but what we've posted, and what others have said on the same topic.

We can't get away with quoting "studies" that never happened, like the mythical "Harvard goals study" (let's not go down the Mehrabian route, we've been there many times). We can't make up statistics. We can't attribute quotes that people never made. Of course, the Internet is not an infallible source of wisdom, but it's what people refer to.

My advice is to act like your audiences. Use the web to check what you say as you rehearse. Ideally rehearse with someone else and get them to check your words. Forewarned is forearmed. One of the best approaches I've found is to say "Yes, opinions differ. This is my take on the issue , and this is why"

How do you "web-proof" your speeches?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Media Coach 24th May 2013

Hints and tips for media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; Funny Voting; Nigel Farage; Scottish Cup Final; Trevor Bolder; Check the script;  Seven Ideas (OK 8); And you are?; Jazzing around with Twitter; An interview with Tim Campbell; Music from We are Kodeta

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Media Coach 17th May 2013

Hints and tips about media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; Say what you mean; Eurovision; Roll the presses; Peter Allen; Heineken; Search for the hero inside yourself; Targets and Bridges; Dan Brown al Dante; An interview with Russel Tarr; Music from Marcus Eaton.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mr Gove or Mr Fussy?

What should you do if your well-publicised speech turns out to be based on misinformation? If you're the Education Secretary, apparently nothing. Michael Gove made a speech in which he said "One set of history teaching resources suggests spending classroom time depicting the rise of Hitler as a Mr Men story. I may be unfamiliar with all of Roger Hargreaves's work, but I am not sure he ever got round to producing Mr Anti-Semitic Dictator, Mr Junker General or Mr Dutch Communist Scapegoat"

His speechwriter has come up with a decent line, but it's very misleading. This morning, I interviewed Russel Tarr, the teacher who is in Mr Gove's firing line. Unsurprisingly, he's furious. He explained that at the end of an intensive six-week course on the Weimar Republic, his GCSE students are required to explain the rise of Hitler to nine-year old primary children, as an exercise to show understanding and communication. The students used Mr Men characters in the exercise, which was very successful.

When challenged on this misdirection, Mr Gove is quoted as saying simply "Read my speech". As Russel Tarr told me, "I wonder what Mr Gove would make of Communism explained with farm animals? Perhaps he's unaware of George Orwell".

My point is not political, but my question is this. If you were challenged after a speech on the basis of misinformation, how would you handle it?
 Picture Credit : Roger Hargreaves Creative Commons

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Media Coach 10th May 2013

Hints and tips for media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; Who makes the news?; More phones than people; Ray Harryhausen; Soft drinks and bad taste; Can you prove that?; Handling a pre-recorded interview; How do you do everything?; An interview with The Chuckle Brothers; Music from Mick Wilson

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Saturday, May 04, 2013

How unique are you? Who says so?

To get regular bookings, we speakers need to stand out from the crowd. We need to be unique. As the US concert promoter Bill Graham used to say of rock band The Grateful Dead” “They’re not the best at what they do, they are the only ones who do what they do”.

It’s interesting to note how some speakers label themselves, presumably in the hope of drawing the interest of potential clients. “The UK’s leading..” or “Amazon best-selling author”. But hang on a minute. How rare are these hyperbolic appellations? I ran some Google searches to check. “The UK’s leading speaker” (28,400 results), “Amazon best-selling author” (697,000 results). Not in any sense unique, and makes it more difficult to stand out than Wally does.

Leaving aside the fact that self-given descriptions are simply opinions (and may just be based on getting people to buy your book on a given hour on a given day), do they really convince people? Why not use verifiable third-party information, such as “Listed as one of the top 100 social media experts to follow on Twitter by influential US blogger Evan Carmichael” or “Past President of the Global Speakers Federation” ? (Yes, those refer to me, but I’m making a point, not self-promoting).

The thing is, we all have stuff that makes us unique. That’s why people buy us. Of course, you can always add a touch of humour. The virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin was widely recognised as being the world’s best. When he was asked how he regarded himself, he said “I’m the world’s second-best violinist”. The next question was obvious “Who is the best?” he was asked. “All my friends” he used to reply with a smile.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Media Coach 3rd May 2013

Hints and tips for media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; Office jargon; The medium modifies the message; Jaguar; Pepsico; Busking it on stage; Revenge is sour; Play nicely! Share!; An interview with Gered Mankowitz; Music from the Lost Hollow Band

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

10 definitions for the Internet Devil's Dictionary.

One of my literary heroes is Ambrose Bierce, American essayist and satirist, and author of the brilliantly sardonic Devil's Dictionary, originally published in 1906. I wonder what he would have made of the internet? Here are a few entries that might make it into the Devil's Dictionary of the Web:

Twitter: A monstrous mix of banality and irrelevance, filled with chatter from people you don't know about things you don't care about.

Facebook: A device for checking up on old school pals, and finding out that the big boy who bullied you in school is now calling himself Dolores and is a cocktail waitress in a bar in Tangier.

LinkedIn: A collection of CVs from job-seekers who have never worked with each other, but who write each other endless glowing testimonials in the hope of finding gainful employment again

SEO: An abbreviation for Seriously Expensive Ordure. A way of getting to number one in Google for "Lifestyle Coach, Orkney", regardless of your location or profession.

Internet Marketing: A way of selling course to people desperate to sell courses to other people desperate to become, er, Internet Marketers.

Blog: An intermittent rant written by a self-styled expert, read exclusively by other bloggers, if at all.

YouTube: A place for people to upload 15-minute pieces to camera about how their business is better than the one next door, or video clips of people walking into lamp posts.

Foursquare: A network established by footpads and thieves to discover when people are away from home

Instgram: Pictures of your cat in a hat and sunglasses, or of your friends making strange faces, digitally altered to look like grainy old pictures to show on high definition screens.

Empire Avenue: A cross between derivatives trading and Myspace. No-one really knows what it's for.

I wonder if others could suggest more entries?

Picture Credit: Wikipedia Creative Commons