Tag Archives: executive media training

Media Training Says Always Proof Read

There are numerous examples of how a lack of proof reading can cause embarrassment and grief to companies and individuals. Today I read on a Murdoch website that “a 124-year-old family business went kaput within two months because of a typo on a government register. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Welsh engineers Taylor & Sons, which was established in 1875, got a shock in February 2009 when Companies House, the UK government’s registrar of companies, recorded the company as having gone bust.

It hadn’t.

But Taylor & Son had. Note the difference — one had an ‘s’ and the other didn’t. The Telegraph in the UK, reported that while the mistake was caught and corrected three days later, it had done irreparable damage to Taylor & Sons, the business that was still kicking at the time.

Now, a former owner of Taylor & Sons has successfully sued the government, which he says destroyed the business with incorrect spelling.

Yesterday, the British High Court found the government liable for the demise of the business, which could leave taxpayers with a £9 million ($17.2 million) legal bill.”

Closer to home, I often see “typos” on GTV 9 News which I used to produce. Suburbs spelt incorrectly, names spelt wrongly etc. I often wonder if the producer or his/her assistant actually check the wording coming out of their graphics department. I did a short stint at HSV 7 news desk four years ago and the producer there had the graphics department come to her desk and show her every “super” that would be used on the news that night – and she proof read each one to ensure the spelling was correct.

GTV 9 News – take note!!

 

Media Training Says Beware Of Social Media

Interesting story on Murdoch websites today.

“WHEN the head honcho of Nissan decided to offer himself on Reddit, you can bet he didn’t expect this kind of backlash.

But backlash he got.

Nissan and Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn took part in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) yesterday and, today, he’s probably wishing he hadn’t.

It seemed to start out fine. Mr Ghosn logged onto the social media platform with the invitation: “I’m the CEO of Renault and Nissan and we’re making autonomous driving vehicles happen by 2020. Ask me anything!”.

Mr Ghosn was lobbed with question by Redditors (Reddit users) but some have accused the company of manipulating the whole thing into a blatant PR exercise. Specifically, Redditor HimCaysE pointed out Mr Ghosn was cherrypicking very particular questions he would answer. Suspiciously, some questions appeared to come from accounts that were either new or didn’t have much of a Reddit history.

Another Redditor, chrisman01, wrote: “[It’s] extremely obvious, considering how all the questions that are positive and name very specific products are the only ones that get answers. Answers that all plug their products. The AMA is the most blatant PR stunt I’ve seen. Seriously, read these freaking questions and answers and tell me they don’t seem utterly staged.””

Some of the questions Mr Ghosn answered :

“Hi Carlos, I’m a diehard Datsun/Nissan fan that is very glad to see well the company has done with you at the helm and hoping to see many more years of continued success. My question is how you see hydrogen fuel cells playing a part in electric vehicles and if Nissan/Renault are investing, or planning to invest, in this technology directly or through partnerships? Thank you and regards, Doug.”

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn presents the new Titan XD truck at the North American Internation

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn presents the new Titan XD truck at the North American International Auto Show on Monday. Source: AP

“Hello Mr Ghosn, first off thanks for doing an AMA! Second, I am new to car sales and have recently been hired at a Nissan dealership, do you have any advice for a new Nissan salesman?”

“How do you intend to solve the issue of inclement weather with fully autonomous vehicles? Will they be able to deal with snow and ice?”

“Hello Mr Ghosn. As lab partners go, NASA is hard to beat. From Nissan’s point of view, what areas of research will this partnership benefit? CES showed how competitive this field is — do you expect collaboration with NASA to give you the edge? And if so, how? Thanks! Tom.”

Questions Mr Ghosn declined to answer included:

“During your time with Nissan, have you had any other type of car other than a Nissan?”

“What are your thoughts on the US government’s bail outs of the auto industry and how do you think those bail outs panned out now that it’s 2015?”

“Hi Mr Ghosn, what do you think about Google’s autonomous cars? What’s your competitive advantage?”

“Not that there’s a chance in hell, but I’m getting married in July, so can I have a GT-R as my gift?”

“What’s your favourite flavour of bubblegum?”

However, Nissan has denied that anything nefarious took place. It told Mashable that the “audience was pure” and that there was no astroturfing.

Nissan Australia had no comment to add and referred to responses from its global team.

You bet they did! We’ve been saying in our media training for some time that if you throw yourself open to the public be prepared! And maybe be honest!

Dress Appropriately For Your Environment

There’s our Prime Minister running the country from an Army tent in remote Arnhem Land but what’s he wearing – a white long sleeve shirt and blue tie as he sits at his makeshift desk/computer for a photo/video opportunity.

How ridiculous. Not correct, in my media training advice. I know he still has to talk with world leaders, especially this week as we prepare to go to war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but, gee Tony, dress appropriately. Later in the same story I saw on TV last night he was dressed in short sleeve T shirt as he spoke with Aboriginal elders. If that sort of dress code is okay with our indigenous leaders then surely it’s okay for world leaders too, not that I believe he was in video chats with them. Who cares. He is in the Aussie bush and he should dress appropriately whether he’s in video chats or just telephone conversations.

By the way, whoever came up with that ridiculous strip of cloth to wear tightly around your neck should be severely punished. What a stupid concept.

Good Riddance Pell

I’ve written about Cardinal George Pell before and this time I have to say good riddance as he leaves our shores to take up an exalted Vatican position. What a pathetic excuse of a man to have a victim of church sexual abuse right in front of him at the Royal Commission hearing yesterday and not look him in the eye as he issued an apology of sorts.

It reminded me of Tiger Woods staged apology a few years back that looked like it was being held in a funeral parlour and lacked any emotion or credibility.

For those interested here’s today’s Sunrise report revealing that he apologised again at a Mass last night!

Whether its a media training workshop or a video production interview I always tell my subjects to put any pieces of paper away and look the interviewer in the eye. This builds trust and credibility.

I strongly suspect though that the global push by lawyers to take control of every aspect of our lives is behind a lot of people reading from prepared scripts. It just looks phoney!

Props – Great For TV Interviews And Press Photos

Don’t be backward in using props if you think they’re going to focus people’s attention on your message. But, if you do use a prop, just remember to hold it up higher than you normally might to accommodate the framing for a TV interview or Press photo. The same rule applies if you’re a hand talker and you want people to fully see your hands not just the tips of fingers running along the bottom of the screen.

Sharman Stone using a propThis photo shows Liberal MP for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone, holding up samples of SPC fruit at a media conference on February 13, 2014 as she welcomed the Victorian Government’s injection of funds to save the Shepparton factory from closure.

Memo Prime Minister – Leave The ABC Alone

So Tony Abbott used to be a journalist. I’m amazed then that he has come out swinging at the ABC, accusing it of virtually being biased against Australia – all because it didn’t give the Australian Navy the “benefit of the doubt” in its story about asylum seekers suffering burns as a result of mistreatment by the Navy.

If he was a fair dinkum journo (like I was when I did my cadetship at the ABC) then he would know that the role of the media in a democracy should be free, fair and fearless, as Michael Gordon put it in The Age today.

If Abbott intends taking the ABC down the state-controlled path we see in so many other countries then I would no longer wish to live here. And I wouldn’t be alone in that view either.

Stick to politics Tony and leave the reporting to our media, uncontrolled and not swayed by any nationalism or patriotism as you would like.

DFAT Needs Better Media Training

The Australian newspaper today carries a story about the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and their heavy handed media management in the Philippines.

Journalist Paul Toohey says the very first aid plane from Australia to land at Tacloban City was carrying a media adviser and when his photographer asked for names of people working on setting up the tents for captions they either said they were not allowed to say or ignored him. “They’d been media-awareness trained”, said Toohey.

Well, they weren’t very well media-awareness trained or they would have been doing all in their power to help the media get this horrific story out to the public so donations could pour in.

Toohey made the point that the heavy-handed approach (bloody stupid if you ask me) by Australian authorities was in sharp contrast to the US Marines who escorted media past security barriers and made sure they had unhindered access anywhere they went.

Looks to me like the US Marines are getting far better media training than DFAT in Australia.

Laurie Oakes Backs One Of My Main Media Training Points

th-LAURIE_OAKES-100x66Interesting to read today that veteran political reporter Laurie Oakes has slammed the Abbott government saying it is “thumbing its nose at voters” through a lack of transparency and communication.

“You can’t thumb your nose at the voters’ right to know and you can’t arrogantly say ‘we’ll let the voters be misinformed and we won’t help journalists get it right’. That’s just a disgusting attitude”.

And the man I worked with at channel nine many years ago is right. Abbott and his team are being extremely arrogant and making the mistake of separating the media from the voters. I keep telling my media training workshop participants not to make that mistake – the media are the people so if you ignore them you are in effect ignoring the people. They’d be the same people who vote you in and out of office Tony!

“They’re busily trying to avoid the media as much as possible and to control the media and so far they’re getting away with it but I don’t think they will get away with it for too long,” Laurie said

Laurie said the government should learn from the experience of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who sought to control media reporting more tightly after his 2010 election, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Mr Abbott has held just eight formal press conferences since his September 7 election win and requests for information from minister’s offices are frequently left unanswered.

I strongly suspect it is the influence of his top adviser, former lawyer Peta Credlin, that is behind the wall of secrecy. In my view lawyers and media are a bad mix and if I was Abbott I’d be appointing someone strong to push for proper media relations….before it’s too late.

 

VW Needed Some Media Training

VW needed media trainingVolkswagen Australia should have had media training before the debacle of its recent safety recall. If I had been running a media training Melbourne workshop for their top executives I would have said “you have to talk to the public about this and the best and most efficient way to do that is through the news media”.

Instead, the company refused to speak to the media and the public were therefore left in the dark about the problems some were having with their VW engines suddenly losing power. They were rightly puzzled as VW in other countries had issued safety recalls for the same problem!

By the time VW went ahead and issued the safety recall for 26,000 vehicles, the Australian public voted with their feet and stayed out of VW showrooms in droves.  On July 3, 2013 it was announced that VW sales had dropped 20% while the market overall was up 5%!

I can’t believe they refused to speak to the news media for a whole week before issuing the recall. They seemed to forget that the Australian public don’t like being messed with. They were forgetting also that the media are the people, and in this case, those people were potential buyers who obviously looked elsewhere.

One of the great media training examples.

Media Training Staple for UK Public Servants

In all media training workshops I have run, I have always stipulated the very real need for people to speak in plain English – mainly so they can broaden their reach but also so they don’t bore or turn off the viewers, listeners or readers. Now, I see the British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has ordered public servants in his department to write in plain English.

Gove, a former journalist himself, has introduced 10 guidelines to get bureaucrats to write in language that their mothers would understand. He said officials should introduce one idea per paragraph, use a sympathetic tone – and make sure they spell the recipient’s name correctly.

I say it’s not just bureaucrats who need such advice. Certainly in my experience with the corporate world and training their executives to handle media interviews, it’s a far more widespread problem – generally concentrated in middle management with less senior and more senior executives prone to speaking like the rest of us do, in plain English.