How to Appear Confident

The passing of the torch from the outgoing White House press secretary to the incoming White House press secretary is a monumental thing. Though it’s an honor to hold the job title for any amount of time, it’s also a very tough job as the world watches and waits for and grades your performance.

This week, we watched as Karine Jean-Pierre replaced Jen Psaki. And while there was a lot to critique in her answers to tough questions, her body language also deserves a conversation. Karine Jean-Pierre will likely improve as time goes on—the first week is usually the toughest—but there are lessons to learn in how she handled herself behind the podium. We all knew she was nervous (who wouldn’t be?!) because she looked nervous. But even if you are, there are ways to hide it and project confidence instead.

#1 — Don’t shift weight.

In this clip, you can see how the new press secretary shifts her weight from leg to leg. Doing so causes her to move around in the frame, which is distracting. Occasionally shifting weight is fine as you don’t want to lock your knees, but you want to stay centered behind the podium the majority of the time. Standing planted helps you look like you’re in control.

#2 — Maintain eye contact.

Referencing your notes to answer tough questions is wise. Reading straight from your notes without making eye contact with your audience makes it appear as if you don’t know the content. It’s better to alternate between referencing your notes and looking at the audience—spending more time looking at the audience. Of course, it’s best to have had enough practice to be able to speak without relying on notes. But if you’re not at that point, don’t let your fallback be to read your notes verbatim. Again, maintaining as much eye contact with the audience helps you look like you’re in control.

Words Matter

The topic of abortion has dominated the airwaves since the release of the alleged majority draft opinion was published by Politico one week ago. We’ve heard plenty of arguments both for and against a sensitive issue that requires those who identify as pro-life to talk about it with care.

In the 50 years since Roe, we’ve learned that word choice matters because it reveals how you feel about abortion. For example, you can tell which side of the debate you’re on by which of the following words you use or don’t use: “baby” vs. “fetus” “pro-choice” vs. “pro-life” “right to life” vs. “women’s rights.” Confuse your words and you betray your message, just like President Biden did last week when he said, “abort a child.”

In addition to the words you use, it also matters HOW you talk about abortion and the examples you cite. Polling shows that a slim majority of Americans agree with the right to an abortion. But when asked to specify how far into the pregnancy an abortion should be permissible, that same majority of Americans overwhelmingly think there should be limits.

This change in perspective is largely due to the technology that reveals how a baby develops in the womb, which means those on the pro-life side of the issue should lean on these developments to ground their case.

Here’s what we now know about a baby’s development in the womb:

  • You can hear a baby’s heartbeat as early as three to four weeks.
  • A baby responds to touch at eight weeks.
  • A baby feels pain by 20 weeks or earlier.

Words matter, but so do the examples you use. When discussing the life of an unborn child, focus on their development in the womb. Doing so will give great weight to your talking points in the pro-choice/pro-life debate as these facts and figures continue to change hearts and minds.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

With all the talk surrounding Elon Musk’s Twitter “takeover,” the question remains—is it valuable to have a presence on the platform?

The answer is an easy “yes” if Twitter trends more towards a free speech zone. But even if it doesn’t, we argue there are still good reasons to log on. While only 23% of Americans are on Twitter, almost everyone that you need to stay in contact with to build a media presence is — producers, reporters, bookers, and hosts. Even if they don’t officially follow you, they often check Twitter feeds of guests to judge legitimacy.

If you want media coverage for your issue, organization, and/or brand, you have to start tweeting. Here are a few tips to help you use Twitter to your advantage:

#1 — Remember, you are what you tweet.
What you tweet about is your brand, so don’t go viral for the wrong reasons. Instead, think reasonably and be persuasive on issues you care about, even if doing so only results in a few followers at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.

#2 — Be consistent.
Tweet at least once a day (Monday-Friday) to build a following. Comment on news-of-day issues that are in line with your brand. Quote tweet people talking about those issues to show agreement and disagreement.

#3 — Get personal.
Because you are what you tweet, strive to be more than just your issue, organization, or brand. Tweet out personal photos, and comment on your hobbies and activities of the day. Doing so gives people insight into who you are as a person and makes you more interesting to follow.

Job Opening: Account Executive

District Media Group (DMG) seeks: an articulate, creative, personable, media-savvy, news junkie for the position of account executive.

A successful account executive is able to: work independently, manage time wisely, and communicate effectively with the DMG team. 

Account associate duties include:

  • Monitoring the news
  • Drafting press statements
  • Assisting with pitch writing
  • Pulling TV and radio clips and creating highlight reels
  • Generating media reports
  • Strategizing for brand development on DMG’s social media platforms
  • Building DMG’s following on all social media platforms
  • Drafting posts and creating graphics for social media

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Strong writing skills
  • Self-starter, highly organized
  • Creative and takes initiative on new ideas
  • Work experience in a communications role
  • Understands news of the day and political trends
  • Familiarity with broadcast media programs
  • Strong interest in media and public policy
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work well on a team
  • Ability to multitask and to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to manage projects from start to finish with little direction, working on tight project deadlines
  • Commitment to the client’s mission and goals

The DMG team has over a decade of experience training lawmakers, policy analysts, scholars, authors, reporters, entrepreneurs, and organization leaders to interview on some of the most complex and pressing issues facing our nation and the world. We excel at breaking down complicated and divisive topics to ensure clients receive expert assistance to craft messages that persuade rather than polarize.

Our clients have appeared on national and international broadcast networks including CNBC, Fox News, CNN, BBC News, and NBC to weigh in on timely questions and hot-button topics at critical moments in time.

*This position requires the ability to work remotely. 

*If you do not watch network or cable news, DO NOT apply for this position. DMG is only interviewing candidates who are already familiar with broadcast programming.

To apply: send a resume, writing samples, and cover letter to info@districtmediagroup.com.

Job Opening: PR Intern

District Media Group (DMG) seeks: an articulate, creative, personable, media-savvy, news junkie for the position of intern for Spring 2021.

A successful intern is able to: work independently, manage time wisely, and communicate effectively with the DMG team. 

A successful intern is able and will be expected to:

  • Monitor the news
  • Draft press statements
  • Assist with pitch writing
  • Pull TV and radio clips and create highlight reels
  • Generate media reports
  • Strategize for brand development on DMG’s social media platforms
  • Build DMG’s following on all social media platforms
  • Draft posts and create graphics for social media

Qualities (preferred, not required):

  • Knowledge of broadcast media
  • Understands news of day and political trends
  • Basic knowledge of social media platforms

The DMG team has over a decade of experience training lawmakers, policy analysts, scholars, authors, reporters, entrepreneurs, and organization leaders to interview on some of the most complex and pressing issues facing our nation and the world. We excel at breaking down complicated and divisive topics to ensure clients receive expert assistance to craft messages that persuade rather than polarize.

Our clients have appeared on national and international broadcast networks including CNBC, Fox News, CNN, BBC News, and NBC to weigh in on timely questions and hot-button topics at critical moments in time.

*This internship opportunity is unpaid and requires the ability to work remotely. 

To apply: send a resume, writing samples and cover letter to info@districtmediagroup.com.

Filler Word Fixes

Filler words happen to the best of us, including new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

There are steps you can take to rid yourself of filler words, and we highly recommend the following two measures:

#1 — Work on eliminating filler words in daily conversation. There’s enough to focus on when you’re live behind a mic, so it’s best to save your brainpower for talking points rather than trying not to say “uh.”

#2 — Enlist the help of someone else. Take one meal a week to eat with a friend, coworker, roommate who is willing to hold you accountable. Ask them to hit the table, or call you out, or notify you however you prefer every time you use a filler word.

You should see noticeable improvement within a month if you incorporate both measures!

Politics Doesn’t Have to Be a Raging Fire

At DMG, we agree with President Biden that in America it is about the right to “dissent peaceably.” But many in our country do not think that free speech applies to ideas they disagree with. DMG will continue to defend free speech—ideas that we agree with as well as those we don’t—and help our clients stand on the biggest platforms to use their voice. As the fight for free speech is front and center, consider hiring DMG to amplify you and your message in print, on radio and TV.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we ended this email without a tip, so here’s an important one:

If you want your voice heard on radio and TV, op-eds are crucial. Radio and TV producers put the content and people they read on their shows. Plus, op-eds are gold for your media booking team.

Will you kneel?

For the past two weeks, we’ve watched speech mobs dominate the protests and coerce politicians, cops, and Members of Congress into binary discussions to no productive end. As president of District Media Group Beverly Hallberg explained in her latest article: “They demand you condemn issue X and publicly shame you into specific action or silence if you have a different perspective.”

The speech mobs have attached themselves to several issues in recent days—lockdowns, defunding the police, etc.—but the script is always the same. We’re presented with one choice over another, and the space for debate is limited.

One of the binary questions that candidates and politicians can expect to face is: “Will you kneel?”

We’ve watched some already answer this question by kneeling. But others have chosen to stand in “solidarity,” and many haven’t kneeled, including a black state trooper who said, “I only kneel to God.”

What if you’re asked to kneel and you don’t plan to? Do you know how to respond?

True—the mob won’t be satisfied unless you comply with their demands. But in an effort to reach out to and work with people, it’s important to not be coerced into action. Issues are nuanced.

Here’s how we suggest you respond to someone else’s demand that you kneel:

“My posture is always going to be to stand. To stand up for people in this country and fight for <insert talking point>.”

If you shift the focus from kneeling to the bigger issue they think kneeling addresses, you take control of the answer and the rest of the conversation. It’s easier to have a productive debate if the conversation revolves around the issue and not the symbolism.

How to talk about the ERA

In February, the House of Representatives voted to reconsider the Equal Rights Amendment. And just this week, FX is set to launch a mini-series detailing conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly’s fight against the same in the 1970s. For these reasons, it’s a timely issue to message.

But it’s also a tricky issue to message because arguments in favor of the ERA are highly politicized and emotionally-charged.

Here’s how we suggest you talk about it, with the help of the Independent Women’s Forum:

#1 — Start with common ground.
Even though we don’t support the ERA, we agree that women should be treated equally under the law. The good news is: women already enjoy equal treatment under the law as it’s illegal to discriminate based on sex. But you first have to state that equal treatment of women is important to you BEFORE you transition to why the ERA is bad legislation so people don’t immediately dismiss your argument.

#2 — Use examples to show that erasing sex distinctions is harmful to women.
A provision of the ERA is to erase sex distinctions, which is harmful to women. Examples abound and will help you make this point — “separate restrooms and locker rooms in public schools; the military draft for males; Social Security spousal benefits; the Department of Agriculture’s Women, Infants, and Children program; the Violence Against Women Act; grants for girls’ STEM training; and more.” Women would lose these benefits in the name of “equality” if the ERA becomes law, meaning we would be less safe and less free than we are today.

For more information about the ERA and why it’s harmful to women, check out the Independent Women’s Forum policy focus here.

Skype Studio Setup

With most TV interviews being done via Skype to protect against the spread of coronavirus, here’s how we recommend you set up an at-home studio to guarantee the best lighting, audio, and background.

  • For the best lighting: sit so the light (natural or in-door) is shining towards your face and not the back of your head.
  • For the best angle: place your computer on a table or stack of books on a table so the camera is eye level.
  • For the best background: make sure the objects behind you are appropriate and well placed. A bookshelf is always a good option.
  • For the best audio: use AirPods. Producers are requesting that guests use AirPods because they eliminate feedback and guarantee the best audio quality.