During this crisis mode that we are all stuck in one way or another, we notice many decision makers and public figures from various fields are addressing the public, either in interviews, press conferences, media briefings, audio interviews, and live broadcasts using social media platforms.
It is common knowledge that public speaking has certain rules and guidelines, as well as etiquette. Some have proven to be excellent public speakers and smooth talkers, while others either failed miserably, or were simply forgotten in the middle of all the clutter; therefore, their message was not properly delivered.
This blog post is not about judging or criticising less-than-perfect examples. Rather, let’s focus on some of the elements that will help us deliver an impressive speech and for our media appearances to be a successful, and hopefully, a memorable one. In a positive way of course.
Know Your Audience: You might have to deliver the same message to different crowds or audiences. Talking about adopting a healthy lifestyle to a group of adults definitely won’t be the same as a group of elementary school children. Understand who your target audience is, their level of interest, level of understanding, the mediums they use to consume information, all of which will eventually translate into a communication method and style that is relevant to said audience.
Identify the Goals: Without goals, there is no point in any plan, campaign, or strategy that you are carrying out. Why are you speaking? How will this add value to your strategy/campaign? What media outlets and why? A press conference or a media briefing?
Decide on the Key Messages: Remember back in school when we had to come up with 3 main ideas before writing the essay? This also applies here. These key messages will guide you in your drafting exercise.
Draft & Practice: Write down everything. Everything you want to say under each one of the key messages. Do it in one go. Then once you are done. Just leave your notepad or laptop until the next day. The day after, go through everything you wrote. And you will automatically start amending and tweaking. Take your time until you are happy with the end product.
Body Language: Pay attention to your body language, as it plays a big part in helping you convey the message properly and clearly. Eye contact, placing your arms, body posture, tone of voice, among many other intricate details. Make sure that you are calm, confident, and extremely polite the whole time, and that everything you say is clear and easy to understand.
Copywriting: Not all of us are blessed with impeccable writing talents. And that is totally fine. Either get a second opinion that can help you in tweaking what you wrote, or invest in a freelance copywriter who will be able to whip up the perfect recipe for your next media or public appearance.
Please note that you should never go unprepared. A very few people can do that and are able to improvise eloquently on the spot. Don’t take risks and always be prepared.
Media Training: Many agencies and PR experts and communications consultants offer media training sessions that prepare you for your time in the spotlight from how to sit and stand, all the way to how to handle interrogative questions by the media with grace.