Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How To Create A Media Frenzy- The Mark Latham Way

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

If you're in Australia at the moment it is hard to miss the media frenzy created by the release of a new book described as "the biggest political news story of the year".

Former opposition leader, outspoken Mark Latham, has caused a stir in both parliament and the press with his recent outbursts, name-calling and frank opinions regarding his former party and colleagues.

These scandals, which have featured in newspapers and radio and TV programs throughout Australia, have brought attention to not only the disgruntled politician but also the launch of his new book The Latham Diaries.

And with all this drama and attention there is no doubt Mr Latham's publicity team are celebrating rather then panicking as sales of his book have soared.

So how does a nation-wide scandal become strong, good PR rather then a crisis?

And what makes the media tick when understanding why the release of the book created so much positive PR?

Here are my Ten Reasons why The Latham Scandal generated so much positive PR and what you can learn from it.

1. Conflict

Conflict makes the news. Mr Latham's conflict with the Labor Party, the press and direct attacks on politicians is interesting, it's scandalous and people want to read and hear his opinions and the replies from those he's talked about. Politics generally is about conflict and combat but Mr Latham's personal comments add another dimension.

Students of power, influence and persuasion will be encouraged to find out the reasons behind the conflict in his book.

2. Prominence.

Politicians are celebrities. Everyone knows them by name, face and role and Mark Latham has made headlines since he was appointed party leader. His character as an outgoing, outspoken politician has captured our attention. His book tells his side of the ongoing scandals in his own words. By generating a big bang with his book launch, Latham was able to bring attention to many other scandals and note they are all contained in his book, hence boosting sales.

3. Timeliness

Since quitting the Labor Party Latham has stayed out of the media until high-profile interviews with the ABC's Andrew Denton, name-calling and media attacking... all coinciding with the launch of his book. Coincidence, or good PR planning?

Mr Latham gained more publicity through the media for his book from comments in interviews then he ever could have through advertising. Attracting and capitalising on the media spotlight all in a condensed period of time, particularly when there's little else in the news has worked well to his advantage.

4. Context and Relationships

The name-calling, the back stabbing, and even personal nicknames ... it may seem petty that the man who once led the opposition would behave in such a way. But the larrikin, honesty and bluntness of Mark Latham is endearing to Australians. We like to see the raw, unguarded bloke and by relating to Australians, Mark's relationship has strengthened.
Had this happened between politicians in another country, the result may not have been as positive for book sales.

5. The Media

The interview between Latham and Andrew Denton on Enough Rope has become central in discussions and media coverage of the issue. The audience of Enough Rope are generally generation X and Y, well educated professionals with young families. This target audience echoes that of his book. By selecting his media source Latham was able to access a large portion of his target audience for his book.

6. Relevance

The context of the book is set as Labor's former leader turning his back on his party the year after a record election loss. The content in both the book and interviews is relevant, it's history being written as it's happening.

The conflict also makes it relevant to Labor or Liberal supporters. Those who empathise with Latham will read his book for his side of the story. Those who disagree with his statements or support Liberals will read it for the scandal, the inside information.

7. Personality

Mark Latham is a publicists dream. He's well rehearsed in dealing with the media and very effective in getting his message across. His interviews were clear, concise and effective at promoting his book.

8. Human Interest

Pancreatitis, testicular cancer, family problems, suicide... Latham even made references to sporting teams in his interviews. It's candid and real and endearing. Latham seemed to let his guard down completely and invite the Australian public into his mind. A connection that continues in his book.

9. Carefully Constructed Interview Subjects

In his interview with Andrew Denton, Latham touched on a number of subjects from his book, offering a preview but leaving the audience wanting more information. This interview would have been carefully planned and controlled by Latham, although not obvious to the viewer.

10. Novelty

It's something people can talk about around the water cooler at work or whilst on a bus. Little shock waves then ripple out and cover a wider area. Everyone has an opinion or view on the matter and this transfer of information between people, or viral marketing, will also help book sales.

For more media tips visit our website www.8mmedia.com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Public Speaking Tips: 10 Easy Ways To Prepare A Powerful Introduction

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker
An introduction is the very first message an audience will hear when you have to speak in public.
It can set the scene and make or break a presentation. It is frustrating so very few presenters use this powerful tool.
Always request an MC or someone respected to introduce you. This provides instant credibility through third party endorsement.
It is far better for someone else to talk about and endorse your fantastic achievements than yourself!
The more senior, respected, experienced or higher ranked, the greater the credibility boost you will receive.
As that well-known phrase goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. So do you leave this opportunity to chance? Or do you want to control every word the audience hears?
It is always best to control the introduction and in particular, write your own introduction and importantly brief the person who will be introducing you.
A well-written introduction you have prepared beforehand also allows you to move smoothly and unhesitatingly from the introduction to your opening.

Here are some public speaking tips and 10 Easy Ways to Prepare a Powerful Introduction when giving a speech for any occasion.

1. It Has To Make Sense.
Your introduction must make sense and cover why you are speaking or have been chosen to speak. Read it out aloud to someone else prior to giving it to the introducer.

2. Keep It Simple.

The best introductions are often the simplest.

3. Keep It Short.

A short introduction will have the most impact. Remember the audience has come to hear you not the introducer. Bill Clinton has made famous his mistake in the US Congress where he took longer to introduce someone than the actual speech. Don't make this fatal mistake. A good introduction will take between 20 and 30 seconds to read out and be between 3 and 4 paragraphs in length.

4. Make An Impact.

Good introductions make an impact. Ways to do this could be to start with a rhetorical question.

5. Include Personal Information.

Include personal information to make a human connection with the audience. This helps build rapport and empathy.

6. Include The Quirky, Memorable or Unusual.

This helps the audience relate to and remember you. It is also useful as a way of introducing humour or a foil or balance to all your great achievements. The unusual can also surprise and delight an audience. I use my past involvement in the unusual athletic pursuit of hammer throwing to help put a smile on the audiences faces.

7. Link To The Opening.

Make sure you have a link in your introduction to segue seamlessly into your opening. Remember the introduction and your opening are NOT the same.

8. Have Large Font.

Make sure the introducer can read the introduction. Keep the font as large as possible that will comfortably fit on 1-page.

9. Brief The Introducer.

Always brief the introducer on pronunciations and any stage directions. It is especially important for them to shake your hand to give you confidence and energy and permission to connect with the audience.

10. Give Them Plenty Of Time To Prepare.

Avoid handing the introduction to the MC at the last moment. Give them plenty of time to prepare and rehearse. Most are nervous and will want to do their best.

Always avoid the credibility sapping experience of them saying .."So and so has just handed me this and I'm just going to read it out."

Don't laugh it has happened to me and nothing dampens your energy and enthusiasm as a presenter more than being introduced with that line.

Here is an example of an introduction I use:

INTRODUCTION FOR THOMAS MURRELL - Presentation Skills
How can you more effectively get your message across?
More importantly, how can do you this when delivering a speech?

Our guest presenter today is an International Business Speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster

He is recognized by his peers as a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP, this is the industry's highest award and there are only 53 people with this in the whole of the Asia Pacific Region.
His company 8M MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS provides solutions to media, marketing & communication issues for Top 500 companies, government organisations and leading Universities.

In a former life he was a radio & TV presenter, executive producer and Senior Media Executive, describing his 12 years at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as an "apprenticeship".

A graduate of three Australian Universities, he gained his MBA in marketing from the University of Western Australia and is a former National Junior Hammer Throw Champion!

To talk about Powerful & Persuasive Presentations, please welcome MR THOMAS MURRELL (turn to Tom & shake hand).

ENDS

Please feel free to use this as a template and modify it for your own situation.

For more public speaking tips visit our website www.8mmedia.com.

Congratulations Philip Wong - Winner Of Book Door Prize


Philip Wong, property and marketing consultant with the Professionals group and winner of my book at the door prize for SWAN SWAP.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Media Training- Essentials for ALL Office Professionals

Often the first point of contact the media has with an organisation is with the front desk or receptionist. Although designated people within a company may have the training and skills needed to interact with the media, the first point of contact within an organisation can make or break a journalists perception of the company and may impact on how they report about your business.

Here are ten tips on how to be media savvy for all office professionals.

1. Have a Formal Media Policy.

Every organisation should have a policy on talking to the media. A formal policy helps minimise the risks and maximise the opportunities when dealing with the media. It is important to also understand and update this policy. Often a company might have a media relations policy but it is dated or the designated person may be on holidays, always know who is available, their role and how to contact them.

2. List by name in the organisation who can and who can't talk to the media.

This is the basis of a good media policy and well run organisations have clearly designated responsibilities in this area. Again have this list updated regularly, you never know when the media will contact your company.

3. Make sure everyone understands the policy and it is well communicated throughout the organisation.

It is important to communicate the media policy to all front line team members. This is especially important in an emergency or crisis situation. Often roles change and it is better to be prepared and professional.

4. Act as a gatekeeper.

Good office professionals are the heartbeat of an organisation and control the flow of information. A good executive assistant can play a vital role in acting as a gatekeeper andcontrolling access to key decision makers in an organisation. Always be able to direct all enquiries to relevant people.

5. Be courteous.

Remember the media's impression of you represents the whole organisation and may influence how they report on your company.

6. Ask the journalist for their name, organisation, contact details and most importantly, their DEADLINE.

In the media, seconds make a difference whether a story makes the news or not. Take time to collect the vital information and make it a priority.

7. Always call back within an hour.

This ensures the journalist knows what is happening prior to the deadline and helps them better plan for their story. It also shows interaction, even if your not prepared for the interview or are still unable to make a statement, let the journalists know your progress.

8. Don't be drawn into speculation.

The media are highly trained at extracting information from people. They are some of the most persuasive professionals in the world. Be disciplined and avoid speculation. Always explain who you are and why you cannot give further information. Never lie or guess.

9. Assume everything you say is on the record.

Many journalists will use the line they only want background information and it will not be on the record (i.e. published or broadcast). In my experience it is better to avoid any grey areas and assume every time you speak to a journalist it will be used and in the public domain.

10. Review and evaluate.

If you have been involved with the media - whether positive or negative - it is always worthwhile to review your policies and procedures. Simply ask two questions - what worked well and what could we improve for next time. Monitoring your media also keeps you informed on how your company is being perceived by the public.

For more media tips visit our website www.8mmedia.com.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Speech Tips- Ten Things to Remember When Accepting an Award

Many people are recognised for their work, industry, sporting or community achievements.The giving of awards by associations, businesses and groups helps recognise achievers and excellence.In many cases recipients of awards are asked to give a small acceptance speech.But, according to the Book of Lists, the number one fear in the Western World is the fear of speaking in public.So how can you make a great impression when you have to accept an award?

Here are my 10 tips on how to make a great acceptance speech.

1. Keep to time.
There is nothing worse than someone who goes on and on. Not only does this turn the audience off but it diminishes the impact of the award. If you have been notified beforehand, always ask how long you have and then keep to that time. If the award is a complete surprise it is best to keep it shorter than go longer.

2. Keep it relevant.
Avoid grandstanding or using the opportunity to score points or put across your own personal agenda. Make the content of your speech relevant to the audience and occasion.

3. Make it memorable.
Personal stories can make an acceptance speech very powerful and memorable. Keep the stories personal, relevant and use to highlight a point.

4. Make a link back to the organisation giving the awards.
Always try and make a connection back to the values or the goals of the organisation giving the awards. Include a memorable vignette or incident, something entertaining or touching about your involvement.

5. Thank those that have helped you.
Nothing is more powerful than thanking others who have helped you reach your goals. Mentors, coaches, supporters, friends, people who first introduced you to the organisation are appropriate people to thank.

6. Share your feelings.
Revealing your true emotions makes a great connection with the audience. If you are truly excited show it!

7. Avoid negative or apologetic statements.
Awards are about celebrating success and achievement and your comments should reflectthis. Be upbeat not downbeat.

8. Avoid jokes or funny stories.
Leave this to the professional comedians and stand up comics. The risks of backfiring far outweigh the upside.

9. Avoid notes.
If you know you are going to get an award always prepare beforehand. Don't read from notes - use keywords as memory triggers. There is always something lacking when an award recipient reads from their notes. I think the audience are let down and itminimises the impact.

10. End with a call to action.
What is it that you want the audience to do? You are the role model - inspire them to greater heights!

Find out more speech tips at our website www.8mmedia.com

Monday, September 12, 2005

Speech Training- Building Your Voice, Tips from a Professional

Having a clear and confident voice is an essential business skill to be an effective leader, manager and communicator.Whether you are presenting in front of a group, performing in the media or speaking on the phone a good voice can be a great asset.

Here are 10 tips on developing a more confident and persuasive voice.

1. Build Clarity by Warming Up.

The human face can pull more than 7,000 unique expressions with 44 different muscles! Get into a routine to warm up your most important muscles. Use specific exercises toloosen up your jaw, lips and tongue. Being physically prepared will give you confidence.

2. Practice Difficult Phrases.

Once you've warmed-up do a couple of tongue twister exercises to put it all together. Examples include 'red leather, yellow leather' and a big black bug bit a big black bear'.Try saying these quickly them slowly.

3. My Voice Comes From My Belly.

Now the juices are flowing, it's time to get some tone and timbre in your voice. This comes from your diaphragm. Practice breathing and fill your belly like it's a balloon.

4. Posture.

Your posture is important for voice projection. Warm up your neck, shoulders and rib cage. Get in a comfortable stance with your feet firmly planted. Remember your stance when you feel most comfortable. Use hand gestures if this suits your style.

5. Relax and Smile.

The more relaxed you are the more confident you will feel and appear. Remember most audiences want you to succeed. Smiling at the audience helps you relax. Harness your adrenaline in a positive way.

6. Be positive.

A positive attitude is very important. Visualize how it felt when you last made a really successful presentation. Remember this moment. Feel and use this positive feeling. Be psychologically ready.

7. Speak from the Heart.

Use emotion and feelings in your voice and words you choose. Eighty percent of voice tone is emotion and this will help you touch your audience.

8. Evaluate and Seek Feedback.

Always evaluate your performance and seek to improve each time. Ask for feedback from others who you are comfortable with.

9. Take Care of Your Voice.

Always take care of your voice. A healthy diet, adequate sleep and behaving in moderation are essential to protect your voice.

10. Be Yourself.

Develop your own style and be yourself. Relax and enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Television Reporters- Questions to Ask Before Agreeing to an Interview

Prior to a TV interview it is guaranteed the journalist involved will spend time preparing, writing down questions or goals for the interview either quickly or more in-depth as well as conducting some background research. As the interview subject it is important to undergo a similar preparation process to make the most out of your media opportunity.

By asking your own question you are able to perform at your best and be prepared for the interview.

Here are 10 questions you should ask the TV reporter prior to agreeing to be interviewed.

1. Have the journalist identify who they are.
Establishing a rapport with the person and knowing their name is vital. Write it down somewhere so you can recall it easily and remember the name prior to the interview. After the interview ask for a business card and add it to your media contact file.

2. What TV station they are from?
This will help put the interview in context. This seems like a very simple question however often media is syndicated and your interview exposed to a wider audience then expected.

3. What program they reporting for?
Is it news, current affairs or a lifestyle program? Again, this will help determine the style and context of interview. You are then more able to predict the types of questions or angle they will take on the subject.

4. What is their deadline?
The electronic media operates in a high pressure environment where seconds make a huge difference. If you know what the deadline is, you can get an understanding of the immediacy of the story. This will provide direction on whether the story will bebroadcast on tonight's news or the call is just for background and research with no immediate deadline.

5. Will it be recorded or live?
Recorded interviews allow for editing. Live interviews have added pressures because there's no room for mistakes.

6. Will the interview be in the studio or in the field?
Studios tend to be very sterile, controlled and intimidating environments while a field interview can provide context for the story. If you can control the background visuals for the interview on your turf, with a company logo or product, this will help maximise free branding and promotional opportunities.

7. What is the news angle?
Hearing what the story is directly from the journalist will help provide direction and give you an opportunity to prepare suitable answers.

8. Who else are they interviewing?
Again, this will put the interview in context and help provide background. This type of information is vital when preparing a response or key messages.

9. Who is the target audience for the interview or program?
The more you understand who will be watching the interview the more targeted your message can be to that audience.

10. What are the logistics?
When, where and at what time will the interview be conducted? Being organised, prepared and as stress free as possible is essential for any TV interview. Allow plenty of time and be organised so you can perform at your best.

For more media hints visit our website www.8mmedia.com.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Leveraging Media Coverage - Your Tool For Business Growth

Media relations, simply put, is the business of building and growing reputations. One of the strengths of media coverage is that its free and gives great credibility because it is written by a third party, namely a journalist.

But media relations does not simply end with an interview or article published. It is important to then use this media coverage to create opportunity for your business.

Here are ten tips for maximising the power of media coverage once you have gained it.

1. The Power of Momentum.

Once one media outlet picks up on a story then others are also likely to run with the issue and look for new angles. Always look to a range of media outlets covering many different mediums. The power of momentum utilises the strengths of all, for example radio, print, TV and Internet. Radio acts immediately and is in competition to find updates to stories as they happen whereas print news sources will be more likely to find extra facts, perhaps a feature article or biography depending on deadlines involved.

2. Maintain a positive, helpful attitude towards the media.

Remember the media is a people business. Build relationships with key people covering areas within your field of expertise. Always co-operate and respect deadline pressure. Remember you are not the only person trying to gain media attention and failure to return calls or providing poor information may result in journalists chasing another story.

3. Get reprints of print articles.

One of the most cost effective ways of leveraging media coverage is to ask the publisher permission to run extra copies of your article as a reprint. Reprints can be used as handouts or to send to clients and prospects. Being endorsed by the publication strengthens the reputation of your company.

4. Record radio interviews.

If you are going into a radio studio to conduct a live interview always take a blank cassette tape with you or minidisk. Ask permission for the station to record your interview. Then make copies of the interview to handout free to prospects or clients. Remember the radio station retains copyright of the interview so you cannot sell it for commercial gain. You can only make copies to give away for free.

5. Customise articles for specific industries.

One of the hardest things about writing articles is developing your main theme and alogical argument. Once you have done this it is a relatively easy process to customise articles for different industries. Identify few and effective key messages and package them well with examples rather then trying to include too many and complicating the article and making it difficult to read.

6. Encourage syndication.

If you are writing articles for a specialist trade magazine ask the editor if they syndicate articles to other magazines. Often smaller publications are syndicated to others who may share similar target markets. If the opportunity arises to have your article syndicated be sure to tailor it accordingly, perhaps take a different angle and ask the editor if you are unsure. Sometimes strong relationships come from asking simple questions and identifying opportunities.

7. Use existing success to leverage into new markets.

Give your story credibility by highlighting previous successful campaigns or current examples that the media can identify with. For example of you have had strong media support from one state and wish to enter a different state’s market explain the previous success in your approach, the media will be more likely to support something that has been identified with previously then to risk the unknown.

8. Offer to be available to take talkback.

Always offer radio stations the opportunity to come into the studio and take talkback. This gives you more airtime and the ability to position yourself as an expert. Engaging with talkback callers is a great way to lift your profile, share your knowledge and help the station make great radio.

9. Offer to write a regular column.

If you have a range of ideas and can turn this into regular articles - why not break your expertise up by writing a regular column in a magazine. This will position you further as an expert and regularly put you in front of readers as well as strengthening your relationship with the publication.

10. Turn your articles into chapters of a book.

One of the most powerful ways of leveraging regular articles is to re-write them for abook. This has a double benefit. You get the discipline and practise of writing articles and then this provides the basis for a book.

Use local businesses as an outlet for your product. If you are going into a new market with a new product or service research what local distribution channels there are. When you gain media coverage for one of your products in a new market - for example a new book - immediately find a local bookstore in the catchment area of that media outlet and approach them to distribute your book. Then mention this business in your media interview. This has a powerful effect in creating a win-win situation for both the local business and you. They get free publicity and you get a local advocate for your product.

Find out more at our website www.8mmedia.com.