State Of The Nation lesson for leaders

29 January 2015

Most leaders make one fatal mistake when they present to groups of stakeholders, whether they be a public audience in a large hall, media interview or a small group in a boardroom. They try to cover far too many points.

This is something John Key, Andrew Little and their advisors understand well. This was evident in both State Of The Nation speeches yesterday. Key focused solely on housing, while Little concentrated on the need to create jobs and the importance of small business in achieving that.

By covering minimal points and backing them up with facts, statistics and stories, leaders can be sure people will remember the basics of their speeches. Some may argue that Little was light on detail, but at least potential voters now know where his priorities lie.

Most people remember very little about the speeches and presentations they hear. That’s because speakers try to fit every possible point into their time slot. This is not only boring too watch, but it’s very difficult for people to remember any of it.

In a nutshell, rather than try to describe the forest, it’s better to focus on one tree in detail.

There’s another benefit for public figures who narrow their focus. It means the media will have to cover the points they choose. Otherwise journalists will sit through the boring speech, and pick a minor part from it to use in their story. This is exactly the same reason leaders should limit the points they try to communicate in media interviews.

This is one area where media training can help leaders communicate better with all stakeholders.

For more on my media training, contact or 029 200 8555.

Filed under Media Training

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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