Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MEDIA TRAINING: YOU Be the "Storyteller"

Sharing YOUR Story Sells YOU
  When is the last time you had to share your story?  Let me ask you a different question... when is the last time you had to share anything about what you do, what you've done or what you or your company is going to do?  How much did you actually share?

   Each day for me and our team provides another collection of media requests - be it newspaper, magazine, radio or television.  Not mine ... those that involve the LPGA in some way or another.  Our "league" is not different than any other in that regard. 

   We get requests for players, requests for the commissioner and requests for various executives to comment or serve as experts in their given field.  It's virtually the same as a Major League Baseball team, an NFL franchise or probably most corporations worldwide.  You're asked to comment, react or share.

   As for the media.... they will always has a job to do.  They'll ask the questions, react to the news, sift through the messages being delivered and determine what fits, what's relevant and what their audience will find interesting.  In the end, the journalist writing the story or telling the story will put their "spin" on what you say... as they become your "storyteller."

   But, the quest for better stories told about you comes in large part from the effort put in by the subject of the interview.  In other words, the more we share, the more descriptive we are, the more transparent or "real" we'll allow ourselves to be ...  the better the story that gets delivered to the audience through the media.  In other words... pressure on us.

   So the question is... HOW?  In my years as a member of the media, I've been trained to have an "ear for the quote." 

    What do I mean by that?  A true "quote" is something....

                                              * delivered with extra emphasis
                                              * supports or shares a belief
                                              * controversial or compelling
                                              * that sparks interest
                                              * that provides a call to action

                                              * that humanizes the subject

    I've sat through many press conferences and interviewed many people.  And one of the most important things forgotten by those with the microphone is "storytelling."  People are keen to "answer" questions but not always so focused on sharing details.

    Imagine helping your high school son or daughter write their first research or thesis paper and providing only the key subjects or topics.... but none of the supporting details.  Obviously that would be a less than compelling story - and the teacher grade wouldn't be very good either.

    So.... here are three things to think about during your next interview:

1. Take the question... and run.  I didn't say "run on" ... just run.  Use some details, and create a conversation with your audience that gives reason for follow up questions.

2. Just how interesting are you?  The less you share and the less descriptive the answer, the less interesting the article written about you.  Is that what you want?  Help the journalist or collection of media members do a better job of selling you.

3. Think about the "why" and not just the "what."  This is a philosophy shared to me that has stuck.  It will force you into thinking deeper about your beliefs.  Example ... "We have a brand new program we're launching and it's called "Operation XYZ" - we're really excited about it."  Now, obviously there is more .... so tell them why you're launching it, what it will do, who it will serve and what you hope to accomplish. 

    Not every person is afraid to share.  But some are ... and if you're one of those, think again about the opportunity before you.  If you are a good storyteller... they become a better seller of your story. 

   Thanks for reading this blog... and sharing with others.  We can all take advantage of our speaking opportunities and I'd love to see your comments or stories.  As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KraigKann and share comments about this post directly.

Thought for the Day: Details, details, details ... and a good mixture of enthusiastic delivery goes a long way to connecting with your audience.

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