TUESDAY TIP: Moderate like a pro

We outlined how to be a good panelist last week, so it only makes sense that we’d talk about how to be a good moderator this week. Because let’s be real – it takes both cooperative panelists AND an effective moderator to pull this off.

Moderators have a tough gig. It’s your responsibility to create smooth transitions between the audience welcome, panelist introductions, panelist presentations, and Q&A. You keep the trains running on time all while dodging the spotlight.

If you’re staring down the responsibility of “panel moderator” this conference season, keep in mind that not all heroes wear capes. Here’s our best advice on how to moderate like a pro:

 

1) Start with a hook. Think: Why is this topic relevant? And then open your monologue with a recent data point, example, or quote to illustrate why this topic is relevant.

2) Ask the panelists for a preferred bio. Website bios are often too long, so you need to figure out what highlights to read. As you choose the highlights, check with the panelists ahead of time to make sure they approve your edits. Also, if you have a personal connection to the person you’re introducing, or just read their book, or saw them speak, or watched them nail a media interview, mention it.

3) DO NOT let an audience member hijack the Q&A. Really, this is your one job. If you do nothing else, everyone in attendance will be grateful for your ability to prevent this from happening. Make it clear that you will only take questions (not comments!) and they better be brief. And if someone decides to break these very easy to follow rules, you have the power to interrupt them and restore order.

 

Keep these three points in mind and you’ll knock this opportunity out of the park. Here’s to a great conference season!

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: How to be a successful panelist

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: CONFERENCE SEASON!!

With only a few weeks to go until we travel to far-off places to network and learn things, let’s take a minute to address one of the trickier situations you may find yourself in.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked to speak on a panel.

Not as easy as it seems, right?

Panels involve a lot of moving pieces: you’re introduced, you present, you sit quietly while the other panelists present, and then you field questions from the audience.

Beyond your prepared remarks, there’s a lot to remember about who to look at and when, what to do with your hands when you’re not speaking, etc.

But we want you to survive (and thrive!), so we’ve laid a few ground rules:

 

1) Eyes. The rule is to look at whoever is speaking – fellow panelist, moderator, audience member. And if you are speaking, look at the audience.

2) Hands. Rest your hands on the table. Doing so will help you sit up tall and make it easier for you to take notes.

3) Voice. Even though you’ll have a microphone in front of you, it’s always a good idea to project your voice. The audience will be better able to hear you and you’ll seem very confident in your delivery.

 

A panel invite is an exciting opportunity. It means someone considers you an expert! So as you prepare to travel to a conference (or three) in the next few months, don’t forget about the visual aspect of your participation as well. How you look and move matters just as much as what you say.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

You prepped for your print or taped TV interview, nailed the sound bite in your first response, and handled the tough questions with ease.

 

 

Great job! But the interview isn’t over.

 

 

Just as the reporter/host is about to wrap up, they ask you one final question:

 

Q: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

 

Here’s what you DON’T do.

 

A: “No. I think that’s all.”

 

Most guests are just glad to field questions without making any mistakes, and are perfectly fine to let the interview end. But why play defense when you can play offense?

 

Here’s how you handle the, “Anything else you’d like to add?” question:

 

Q: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

 

A: “Yes. <Insert sound bite>.”

 

This is the media interview version of a mulligan.

Take this time to repeat your sound bite – the one thing you hope the producer chooses as your on-the-record-statement. By doing this, you increase the chances that the news package will include the most important information, and you want to take advantage of every opportunity to make sure that happens.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

3 things to consider (and avoid) before you go on live TV

Last week was a study in what happens when props fail, both in public presentations and media interviews.

Props can be a great addition to help make your point, but please proceed with caution. You risk more by using the prop than not, so here are three things to consider (and avoid) before you go on live TV:

1. Use spell check! This floor poster made us LOL.

Last week, Sen. Maria Cantwell (now referred to as “Sen. Cantspell”) was trying to make a point against the Republican health care bill, yet forgot to spell check her prop. #YouHadOneJob

2. Props should never make an appearance in media interviews, and Kellyanne Conway proved why. Though she was using her flash cards to clear up confusion about the Russia saga, it didn’t seem to have the intended effect.

(We’re confused. We don’t understand.)

But also, the signs were a distraction from her main message. Instead of listening to what she said, we tuned her out to watch as she awkwardly broke the frame to pull the signs into the shot. When you have to pull props into a live shot, you’re doing it wrong.

3. Don’t be the punchline. Beware of any potential for a screen shot to be made into a meme. We saw this happen to President Trump when he lifted up a copy of a just-signed executive order. The prop took on a life of its own, not only creating memes, but also a meme generator.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Amazon Prime Day

In honor of Amazon Prime Day, a beloved national holiday, we thought we’d help fill your cart with everything you need for your next TV interview.

Our goal is to make sure you present your best self on camera, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 6 products we recommend to make you shine (not literally) in your interviews.

You’ll thank us later…

1. Crest Whitestrips Supreme Professional Strength

2. Brush On Block Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen

3. Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers

4. Batiste Dry Shampoo

5. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor

6. MAC Studio Fix Pressed Powder

 

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: “Our pets’ heads are falling off!”

 

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” – Chicken Little
“Our pets’ heads are falling off!” – Lloyd Christmas, Dumb and Dumber
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans will die in the streets!” – [Insert Name of Democratic Senator]

Maybe an understatement, but the Democrats don’t approve the Senate’s version of the health care bill and they’d like everyone to know it.

Fox & Friends highlighted a few of the best quotes this morning:

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I know this is a sensitive issue. I’m going to raise it. And that is that the horrible and unspeakable truth is that if this legislation were to pass, thousands of our fellow Americans every single year will die.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We do know that the — many more people, millions, hundreds of thousands of people will die if this bill passes.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): One to 2,000 people will die if you cut 750,000 people from Medicaid. So that means you’re killing one to 2,000 — killing them.

 

Here’s the thing…they’re wrong…

Regardless if you think this policy is RINO (Repeal in Name Only) or the greatest health care bill EVER, the numbers just don’t add up. Hundreds of thousands of people won’t die if this bill passes, but we can’t expect reason to prevail just yet. So, how can you have a calm and thoughtful discussion in the meantime?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

 

Q: “How can you support passage of a bill that guarantees millions will lose health coverage?”

B²: “Millions will lose heath coverage if we do nothing. That’s why we can’t just look at this bill as the only answer, but we also have to look to future reforms that can fix the system, lower cost, and improve quality of care for EVERYONE. We can get there by…”

 

 

Wherever you take the conversation next, use facts to your advantage. The Left will appeal to emotion, which means you have to respond with emotion as well. But then pivot to facts that highlight Obamacare’s failures and how this plan seeks to right those wrongs. You have facts on your side, use them.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: A blueprint for hostile questions

Last week marked a stunning moment in America as we watched Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Senators repeatedly attack Russ Vought, the administration’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), not on his qualifications for the job but on his personal faith.

Irate that Vought stood by his Christian beliefs, Sanders concluded his line of questioning by stating: “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”

Though he didn’t come out and say it, Sanders seemed to suggest one’s faith makes him or her unfit to serve public office. (Have you even read the Constitution?! Please see the First Amendment.)

The exchange between several U.S. Senators and a professing Christian was shocking, but there is good news. Vought gave us a blueprint for how to respond to hostile questions – faith-based or otherwise.

On this Tip Tuesday, let’s analyze Vought’s stellar performance:

 

He did two very important things: 1) he stated what he is, not what he’s not and 2) he never repeated accusations.

 

By only stating what he is and not repeating accusations, Vought successfully stood his ground and won the exchange. He wasn’t defensive, he was confident. And he won the sympathy of the viewing audience.

Now, go and do likewise.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Correcting the host

We’ve all been there. An introduction gone wrong, and no one knows if it’s polite to offer a correction. But what happens when it occurs in a live interview in front of millions (rough estimate) of people?

 

Q: “Should I correct the host?”

A: “No, and here’s why…”

 

Offering a correction can break your rapport with the host, embarrass them, or lead to an uncomfortable moment which could sidetrack your interview. Instead, extend some grace and let it slide. This also applies to fellow guests/panelists who mispronounce your name, title, organization, or a line in your bio.

But like any good rule, there is an exception – DMG recommends correcting the host or fellow guest/panelist if they say something that changes the essence, meaning, or intention of what you are saying or have said. Jump in and politely clarify if you feel like they misrepresented you and/or your message.

ICYMI, past Tuesday Tips have focused on sunglassessleeves, and sweat. All are worth a read as the temps increase this week.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

B²: House Health Care Bill

Some things just go together and should never be separated – birthdays and cake, October and baseball, Beyoncé and Jay Z.

But a new pair has been making headlines in recent days: the House health care bill and pre-existing conditions.

Every single interview/article/social media post that addresses the AHCA, also addresses pre-existing conditions. This means you have no excuse for stumbling through an answer to a question that addresses both. You will be asked about pre-existing conditions in relation to health care, it’s only a matter of time.

So, let’s practice.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

 

Q: “What about people with pre-existing conditions? Will they lose coverage?”

B²: “No. Coverage for those with pre-existing conditions will remain, even after the Senate makes changes. But as we try to move forward and implement good health care policy, we have to consider not only those with pre-existing conditions, but also those who lost their doctors and plans, and experienced exorbitant price increases, under ObamaCare. <Insert talking point>.”

 

Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t shy away from the pre-existing conditions debate. This is a complicated issue that will take time to get right. While we wait for Capitol Hill to work it out, now’s the time to have conversations about what ObamaCare got wrong and how we can fix it so good health care policy prevails.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

B²: Energy + the Environment

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order to open up U.S. energy resources by removing a ban on off-shore drilling in several key locations. Then, on Saturday, Washington D.C. watched another environmental/climate protest take over the city.

With the environment in the news this week, to say it’s a “hot” button issue is an understatement.

But how do you come out on top in your interviews? Or have an intelligent conversation with someone who believes your science isn’t the same as their science?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

 

Q: “Do you think Trump’s Executive Order to allow for more drilling will hurt the environment?”

B²: “Not at all. In fact, it would be both environmentally and economically irresponsible to fail to steward all the resources we have here in the U.S. <Insert talking point>.”

 

The talking point you pivot to can highlight job creation, economic growth, national security—relying on hostile governments for energy, as well as the environment. Wherever you take the conversation next, emphasize that an all-of-the-above energy strategy will help us better steward our environment for this and future generations.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.