TUESDAY TIP: Are you ready for some football??

As the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, we recommend you take a brief timeout from your fantasy draft to craft a few talking points. Why?

Thanks to ESPN’s commentator-gate, the increasing regularity of National Anthem protests, and Colin Kaepernick’s free agency, football is no longer a politics-free zone, which means you should anticipate a question or two in your media interviews. Are you ready?

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

Q: “Do you think NFL athletes should be applauded for making a statement by kneeling for the National Anthem?”

B²: “I agree that these are important conversations to have. And while football players have the right to stand or kneel, I don’t think the football field is the most effective place to discuss these issues. <Insert talking point.>”

Wherever you take the conversation next, first acknowledge the importance of the conversation, but reiterate that kneeling in protest during the National Anthem might not be the most effective solution.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

TUESDAY TIP: “The ceiling is the roof.”

The NBA Finals are done and basketball is over for the season, but we’re not ready to say goodbye just yet.

On this Tip Tuesday, let’s look to the G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan, as we consider what not to do in our media interviews.

During halftime of a high-stakes basketball game against Duke (the chief rival of his alma mater), Jordan told us “the ceiling is the roof.” Excuse me, what?

Jordan was attempting to highlight how bright the future is for UNC and its athletic program by stating “the ceiling is the roof.” To which we say A for effort, but no dice.

In response, social media blew up, jokes were made at MJ’s expense all over the Internet, and t-shirts with the phrase quickly went on sale.

What Jordan meant to say, nobody knows. Maybe it was “reach for the stars” or “the sky’s the limit.” Regardless, we’re going to use this as a teachable moment.

You should include examples and metaphors in your talking points, but only if you use them correctly. Otherwise, you risk launching a swag sale and meme competition. If your goal is to get your message out (as it should be), make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Mixed metaphors happen to the best of us, so here’s an exhaustive list to confirm you’re not throwing the bath out with the baby water.

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.

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.

TUESDAY TIP: Don’t let ’em see you sweat!

When you live in a swamp like DC, avoiding sweat becomes a full-time hobby in the warmer months. And if Al Gore can be trusted (jk!), this “planetary emergency” called summer is about to trigger our sweat glands all over again, which can present a bit of a problem for TV interviews.

So, how do you appear young and fresh in an interview that might have you hot, bothered, and sweaty?

Here are a few tips to avoid the “pit stain” look:

1.  Make sure the color and type of fabric you wear hides pit stains. Light colors (i.e. pastels) are a great option. Men, you can wear a jacket to easily hide any embarrassing marks. Women, make sure to wear breathable fabrics (no silk!).

2.  Apply baby powder or talcum powder after you apply deodorant. It will absorb extra sweat in the armpit area.

3.  Undershirts – hot and annoying, but they work.

4.  Opt for a ride (taxi, Uber, Lyft) instead of walking to/from the interview location.

5.  We heard somewhere that caffeine makes you sweat more. But there’s no way we’re giving up our coffee, so we don’t expect you to either. Instead, apply tips 1-4 and hope for the best.

ICYMI, we’ve also tackled the appropriateness of sunglasses and sleeves in TV interviews. Click to read more!