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My top media training tip for 2015

14 January 2015
It’s a simple tip but one not many people employ when preparing for media interviews. You must practice your interview on video until you are satisfied. That doesn’t mean a quick run-through with someone firing a few questions at you. It means you should repeat the mock interview until you have passed two tests. The first is that you look confident and relaxed. That’s obviously more for television. But the next test is critical for all media formats, particularly if it’s...

Media interview tips for sportspeople

8 January 2015
At this time of the year the media focus moves away from the boardroom and onto the sports field. That makes it a good time to look at the needs of our elite players when it comes to media interviews. The first tip I would give them is to look at the interviewer when answering questions. Many don’t do this, but it’s important. That’s because you can seem disinterested to the viewer at home if you are not making eye contact...

Why Paula Bennett is my media communicator of 2014

31 December 2014
The reason Paula Bennett is such a good media communicator is her ability to come across as genuine and empathetic. Where she stands out is her ability to accept the emotions and feelings of others, even if she doesn’t agree with their viewpoint. For example, opposition MPs often say there is too much poverty in New Zealand and the minimum wage must rise to turn this around. When interviewed on this, Bennett disagrees that the wage should rise. But the key...

Major media opportunities over the holidays

23 December 2014
Have you ever contacted the media about a story you thought they would be interested in, only to find it was completely ignored? If you have, you are not alone. There could be a number of reasons for this. But the most likely is that the journalist, editor or producer you contacted had other options she thought would interest her audience more than your proposal. In other words, you lost out to the competition. That’s the reality of journalism. But on...

Classic crisis communication by NSW Police

17 December 2014
The crisis communication strategies used by New South Wales Police in the Sydney Siege highlight how vital crisis communication planning is for any organisation. Two specific areas stood out for me. Firstly was the consistent updating of the NSW Police social media sites, particularly Twitter. By my calculations, their first Twitter post warning people to keep away from Martin Place was up within minutes. Then important information was added whenever there was anything new to report. This included one sentence tweets...

Baptist Churches miss big opportunity

11 December 2014
Baptist Churches of New Zealand missed a huge opportunity this week to distance themselves from Pastor Logan Robertson’s comments about gays, and promote themselves at the same time. You will remember Robertson’s derogatory comments earlier this week, suggesting gay people commit suicide. He is Pastor of the Westcity Bible Baptist Church. Robertson is not a member of Baptist Churches of New Zealand, but this was only found out when a few media organisations contacted the group to find out. Only people...

Test yet to come for Andrew Little

3 December 2014
He has done a great job in his first few weeks as Labour Leader, but the success of Andrew Little will depend on how he performs in the media well after his honeymoon is over. A leader couldn’t ask for a more perfect time to take the top job. His party is so unpopular that it can only go up in opinion polls. He has also been handed issues on a plate that any leader could only dream of early in...

Key apology would shut story down

28 November 2014
Political leaders hate apologising. They see it as a weakness and a way of handing ammunition to their opponents. The only exception to this recently was David Cunliffe who apologised for everything from being a man to going on holiday with his family. So should a political leader apologise? That depends. Clearly if the leader did something wrong, an apology is appropriate. The big issue here is whether John Key should apologise for something his staff did. Forgetting all the speculation...

My assessment of Andrew Little's media skills

19 November 2014
The new Labour Leader needs to work on his media skills without trying to become someone he is not. That would be a huge mistake. So what is he already good at? Little never beats around the bush. He ‘cuts to the chase.’ That is a vital skill these days where politicians usually have about 8 seconds to make their point in a television news story. David Shearer struggled with this, whereas John Key is an expert. Little should cope with...

Key quote highlights risk of humour in media interviews

12 November 2014
Humour is a great way to attract media attention, but as John Key found this week, it comes with its risks. When asked if he would advise Chilean President Michelle Bachelet that fugitive murderer Phillip John Smith appeared to have escaped to her country, the PM said: “I’ll just let her know that someone could be over there from New Zealand that she may not want to invite round for lunch.” Journalists always want interesting sound bites to bring their stories...
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