Tag Archives: media training courses

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!!

 

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.

Watch the Typos – The Media Do!

A press article today says Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office went into damage control on Wednesday morning when its spin doctors spun the wrong way.

In a media release to accompany the latest greenhouse gas emission figures for Australia, Mr Hunt was quoted in the opening line as saying: “Emissions figures released today show the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain”.

Within four minutes, the release was speedily amended to swap the offending nouns, to say that the tax was in fact “still inflicting plenty of pain, with no environmental gain”.

The article said a spokesman for Mr Hunt wanted to be clear “it was my typo, not the Minister’s”.

These are the sort of accidents that can happen when preparing media releases and anyone involved in that activity has to be super vigilant. In my media training workshops I highly recommend reading the release back to yourself several times and, if possible, get another set of friendly eyes nearby to check your work.

1o Wrongly Said Sayings

There’s a really good piece on The Age online today that lists 10 sayings that people often get wrong. Because I’ve heard a few of these in my media training sessions I thought I’d post this so if you’re not sure you can check if you’re saying the phrase/word correctly.

As The Age points out, it can be incredibly embarrassing to get commonly used sayings wrong. Called an “eggcorn”, these slips happen when someone tries to use a word or expression they’ve heard that they’ve never seen written down, so muddle up the words. The name for these mistakes was derived by someone once describing an acorn as an eggcorn.

Here’s the first and last points on the list:

1. You’ll often hear someone say that something has become “a mute point”. What they should say is that it’s become “a moot point”.

10. Are you making major changes in your life, or job? Don’t describe this as a complete 360 degree change in your life. You’re not going full circle. You’re actually making a 180 degree change.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/franchising/ten-sayings-people-always-get-wrong-20140128-31jii.html#ixzz2sKGSbKdR

Monotone Slow Speaker Abbott Needs Better Media Training

I see The Age has finally caught up with our prime minister and his slow, monotone delivery. A piece in yesterday’s Sunday Age showed how he now speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews than when he was in opposition.

His rate today apparently is 108 words per minute, dropping from 216 words a minute. Normal speech is 180 words a minute.

The article quotes a Dr Cate Madill from the University of Sydney who thinks he has no “disfluencies”, that is, um, ahs and long pauses. To me, as a media trainer, he still has pauses and while the good Dr says his repetition is a good strategy to buy yourself time, it’s no good if you’re not changing the words. Merely repeating yourself two or three times in close proximity is a real turnoff for audiences.

I do agree with Dr Madill though when she says “the speech delivery of the nation’s leader resembles that of a puppet and is equal to the wooden communication style ridiculed in former prime minister Julia Gillard”.

I don’t know who is media training Abbott but I’d love to have a session with him to add some sparkle, oomph and briskness to his delivery.

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.

 

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.

Catholic Church Needs Media Training




Wow, does the Catholic Church need some media training. Archbishop Denis Hart yesterday faced the parliamentary inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations. Ruth Hilton from Moorooduc summed it up perfectly in The Age today – 18 years to defrock an abusing priest, then a smirk and a flippant ‘better late than never’ from Victoria’s senior Catholic cleric. Shame.

denis-hartI couldn’t agree more. There’s a place for flippancy in some media encounters but that certainly wasn’t one of them.

And the public agree – the Comment section in today’s edition of the paper was full of criticism of the Archbishop – as well as the And Another Thing column.

Next week it’s Cardinal George Pell’s turn at the inquiry and I can just imagine the arrogance that man will display.