Turnbull Shows Honesty – A Main Media Training Point

Interesting to see Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A last night espousing one of my media training points – honesty. The shadow communications spokesman was asked what it was like to lose the party leadership.

”Gut-wrenching.” ”Devastating.” They were the two main emotive words used and, as The Age points out today, it was “honest and direct enough to make you look up at the person talking. Up in the control room at Q&A, they knew they had a moment. The camera angle was unsatisfactory. They switched angles, trying to get the shot tight on his face. It didn’t quite work, because Turnbull forgot his TV technique and kept swivelling to address the questioner.”

There are a lot of people who have been destroyed by political setbacks and I could have been – it was very, very gut-wrenching, it was devastating. It’s a devastating business, a terribly cruel business, politics. Because all of your mistakes and blunders are out there in the public arena. You’ve got nowhere to hide. There is not an ounce of privacy.’

Wow, real honesty – and from a politician no less. I am impressed and just wish more attendees at our media training workshops would take this lesson on board and be more open and honest with the media in future.

A New Aid in Media Training

Just discovered a new aid that I will be highlighting in ongoing media training workshops – Addictomatic at http://addictomatic.com/. Simply insert the topic you’re interested in and it will create a mashup of entries on that topic from:

  • Twitter Search
  • Bing News
  • Google Blog Search
  • WordPress.com
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Friendfeed
  • Blinkx Mainstream Vid News
  • Delicious tags
  • Twingly Blog Search and
  • Ask.com News

Anyone facing a media interview would be wise to insert their organisation’s name and the topic of interest into that site to see what people might be saying – I reckon the journos are doing the same thing so be prepared before any media interview. I also suggest at my media training sessions that potential interviewees do a Google search and, if time allows, set up a Google Alert on the topic – again, these are steps the journos are likely to be taking and you should be equally as prepared particularly if you find some negative comments through these steps.


I might be slightly off topic here as this has nothing to do with media training or video production. However I can’t take another day of hearing that nasal-voiced former Premier Jeff Kennett share his views with us on any topic under the sun.

Please Jeff, enough is enough! You’ve had your day in the sun (and some of us are still paying for it) – let someone else talk about all those topics you obviously believe you’re an expert in.

Even The Heckler in The Age this last weekend had a go at him under the heading “Ted’s hoping pensioner Jeff will fade away”. The article talks about Kennett “turning 65 in a few weeks time and doing the dignified thing and fading quietly into the sunset upon this milestone and leaving Ted to to get on with it.”

Hear, hear.

Not Just Media Training – Video Production Too!

I seem to forget in these posts that we produce videos as well as media training executives and community leaders. There’s a great synergy between these two skills as we are able to extract best performance from people we interview in our corporate videos, investor videos, training videos, promotional videos, safety videos etc.

As an example, we recently produced an investor video in Tasmania and were able to get the key executive being interviewed to slow down his delivery as he was “swallowing” some words which made him harder to understand. On other occasions we’ve been able to make interviewees less nervous about appearing on camera in our video productions.

Some executives start out insisting they will deliver their thoughts directly to camera without realising the skills needed to do that properly with confidence, sincerity and authority. In these instances we convince them to deliver in an “interview setting” which makes it easier for them and for the end viewers.

Of course these days a lot of our video productions end up as a web video production. Today, I have just completed one corporate video project that will be delivered as a web video production as well as a DVD Video and as a HD wmv file on USB sticks – all to be sent to investors as an educational exercise with the client’s branding on both media.

Last week we finished another HD video production that will be played on a large screen at an annual review day next week for a large oil and gas company.

Just before Christmas we received an urgent corporate video production Melbourne brief on a Monday; were shooting in Victoria, Tasmanian and South Australia on the Tuesday to Thursday; edited the program on the Friday; showed it to a very happy client at 5pm that day; fine-tuned the edit on the Saturday and gave him DVD Video copies as well as a version for his Blackberry phone – all to show to investors in China on the following Monday. This client was so thrilled with our quality, speed of delivery and understanding of his needs that he paid our bill in full that same Monday!

That type of service comes from one word – experience. I was trained in video via a TV career and have been able to use that background to successfully offer media training services to clients as well as our expertise in corporate video production. We have conducted media training workshops in 10 countries and all around Australia as well. We have also shot video in the USA, Canada, Fiji, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain and all around Australia.

So, if you need either media training expertise or a video production call us and we’ll give you our undivided attention as well as very competitive quotes.

Sincerity Works

Interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune about a boss who communicates his staff successes to all staff and even saves lives doing so.

George Halvorson, CEO of healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has been sending these notes to his 200,000 staff for five years – no corporate speak, no spin, just the honest truth about large and small successes so staff can see how their work is helping people.

As the article says: “This isn’t a management-babble attempt to create some phoney esprit de corps. It’s a boss giving his employees examples of what they’re doing well and making them feel good about the results.

I reckon this principle could be applied to media relations as well. Our media training teaches you to speak honestly about your successes and failures – sure, put the failures in context in the negative-leaning world of media – but be open and honest and the various stakeholders (like Halvorson’s staff) will think better of you for the sincerity.

Unfortunately not enough companies have the strength to be that honest and sincere – or they’d like to be but the lawyers won’t let them!

Media Training Needed To Combat Formality

Well here we are in 2013 and I notice that media training services are needed more than ever. Emergency service personnel seem to be talking more naturally in their TV interviews but there’s still media training work to be done. Generally, it’s the false perception by so many interviewees that formality is needed to communicate the gravitas of a situation – please bring back Ronnie Reagan to show these people how to use the whole gamut of expressions while communicating.

Speaking of formality, you can see doses of it if you watch Border Security on the 7 Network. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be the choice of the production company but more likely the Public Service attitude of the Customs people featured in the show – they are called “officers” constantly…..as in “Officer Sandy will now pat down the suspect” or “Officer Bill will Xray the bag”. Why it cant be just Sandy or Bill is beyond me. Sure they do an important job but you don’t have to make them sound so formal to communicate that job to us.

And the person who needs media training most so far this year – why, it ‘s the First Bloke who embarrassed his Prime Minister wife with an off comment about prostate examinations.