Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MEDIA TRAINING: Why Interviews Require "Cause for Pause"

   Today, I was on a flight to Virginia… visiting our next tour stop and conducting another seminar designed to provide LPGA players with a better understanding of the media, how it operates, what it’s looking for and how to make use of every opportunity for brand building.  A big part of the time is spent on the importance of social media as a tool… and a lot of it is spent on keys to making the most of an interview.  That interview process begins well before the reporter and the microphone shows up.

   So, who watched the Masters?  Adam Scott won it and an entire country celebrated his victory.  Many – myself included – thought this was the major that would get Tiger Woods back on the “Jack track” toward the Nicklaus record of 18 professional major golf championships.

   In the end, Tiger was a contender whose chances at winning were derailed by a controversial moment and subsequent ruling that led to a two stroke penalty.

   But if not for Tiger’s interview on Friday night after his round, the swell of controversy and media attention might not have escalated – at least to levels that resulted in hours of programming and debate.   Woods, himself was asked about his “drop” after his second shot at the 15th hole caromed off the flagstick and into the water.  He admitted in an interview that in fact he had dropped his ball a few yards back of the original spot from which he’d played to give himself a more desirable yardage.

    Here’s the point…. not to tell Woods not to speak to the media… and not to tell Woods to withhold information … and not to tell him to change a story for a better end result.

   None of the above.  The point is simple.  For anyone stepping into the media circle… take a few moments to think about what’s coming and how you’re going to manage the questions that might come your way.  Here’s why.

    The media is unforgiving of a slip-up or a misspeak.  Especially if it’s a situation – sports or corporate – that carries with it a great deal of attention.  Some moments are bigger than others and when they’re big, the media hangs on your every word.

         What’s the worst thing about taking a few moments to gather thoughts?  Nothing.  So do it.  You spend a lot of time on your craft, your project, your announcement, your sport… so why not spend a few minutes to make sure you explain yourself correctly when it matters most.
Relax.. Regroup.  Take Your Time

       The follow up is magnified more than ever.  We live in a world of analysis, debate, conjecture and speculation.  Nobody is immune to the media microscope.  So gather your thoughts and make sure you’re not soon working on a retraction or clarification.

    Dramatic pause is a powerful thing.  Being “over-coached” before jumping into a media circus isn’t a good thing.  But taking a few minutes to seem prepared is something I’ll always push for.  In one simple word… take time to anticipate.  You’ll be glad you did.

    As always, thanks for the follow on this blog… which is growing by the week.  Can’t thank you enough for the support.  Let me know how it helps you – just follow me on Twitter @KraigKann

 Thought for the Day:  You’re in charge of your own thoughts, right?  So take charge of delivering them. 

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