Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Three Lessons From The Dean Jones Muslim Slur

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

Former Australian cricket star Dean Jones will learn from his recent on air gaffe.

He departed Sri Lanka in disgrace after describing a South African Muslim cricketer as a "terrorist" during a test match with South Africa.

It has been reported Jones was on a contract of around $2,000 a day, but has subsequently been fired.

The Dubai-based Ten Sports network sacked him over comments about devout Muslim Hashim Amla: "The terrorist has got another wicket". Jones thought the broadcast had switched to an ad-break, only to learn it had been heard around the world.

After a dazzling career, including being named cricketer of the year in 1990, 3,631 runs in 52 Tests for Australia at an average of 46.55, Jones quit international cricket in 1994 to become a television announcer.

Angry viewers jammed network switchboards to complain. South African team officials demanded Jones' immediate dismissal.

His media career is now in tatters. It just shows reputations take years to build, yet can be lost in just seconds.

Here's three lessons you can learn from the Dean Jones Muslim slur:

1) The Microphone Is Always On

I was taught this lesson at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a fresh faced University graduate by my wise mentor and presentation coach Arch McKirdy.

When in front of a microphone, always consider it is "live" or on.

2) Avoid Racist Comments

As I tell my executive speech coaching clients, never ever use racist humour. It is just not acceptable.

As Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, said in a statement.

"We take the strongest exception to the comment. This kind of racial stereotyping has no place in cricket and must be stamped out swiftly."

3) Apologise Immediately

"I wish it never happened. It was said after we went to a break. . . I put my microphone down and just said it, unfortunately," Jones told media. "I don't even know why I thought about saying it."

Always apologise immediately.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Maximising TV Morning TV Interviews

Morning or breakfast TV programs are a great way to get your message across.

They are usually more informative, relaxed and friendly than current affairs orientated interviews.

They are often hosted by a team of two presenters - male and female. This format is a popular genre across the world.

It is a really good way to get known fast, build a profile and gain community support for a new idea.

Through a recent experience being interviewed for a breakfast TV program called Wake Up Perth, I want to share with you my insights and reflections.

Learn from my experience so you can perform at your best.

Here are Five Ways to Maximise Morning TV Interviews:

1. Prepare.

You must work out what your angle, hook or spin is. What is your key message? How can you make this unique, distinctive and memorable?

2. Look Good

TV is a visual medium. You must look good and dress well.

3. Supply Suggested Questions

Presenters and producers on breakfast and morning TV work bakers hours (for example they often start at 3 or 4am in the morning) - and this means they often are under time pressures. Make their life easier by supplying a suggested list of questions, short 1-page biography and suggested short introduction.

4. Share Something Personal

Make it personal - remember your audience and the interviewer will want to connect at an emotional rather than logical level.

5. Warm Up Your Voice

Sounding bright and bubbly at 5am or 7am in the morning is a real challenge. Always warm up your voice and be more animated than you normally would be.

Over the past 20 years, more than 15,000 people have been put under the media spotlight by me as an interviewer or media trainer.

Now is your chance to get your own back! All you have to is read my feature article above Five Ways to Maximise Morning TV Interviews, then view my recent TV interview on Wake Up Perth.

Watch the TV interview here.
Now email me your Top Three Ideas on how I could have improved my media performance at

The best entry wins a media pack valued at A$250 and all entries will be published on my blog. Good luck!

Want to improve your media performance before going on air?

Winning The Media Game is being held in Perth on Wednesday August 16th from 9.00am to 4.30pm.

Small class sizes ensure everyone gets personalised attention in a safe learning environment.

This program is also available in house for your organisation at a date, time and location that suits you.

Listen to what people say about this course here.

Book here for the seminar in Perth on Wednesday August 16th.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The 11 Deadly Sins of Live TV Interviews Even The Most Seasoned Media Professionals Make And How To Avoid Them

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

Even the most seasoned media performers can make mistakes during live TV interviews.

Here are the 11 most common mistakes and some helpful tips on how to avoid them.

1) Dress To Impress

Research the style of the show and dress to suit - although you may look great more formally dressed than the interviewers, dressing a little more casually while maintaining your sharp grooming can be better.

For example, seasonality and fashion comes and goes and if your wardrobe is like autumn, but your two hosts' clothes are dressed for the middle of summer, it is too different and not a good look or connection.

2) Check Your Set Background

TV set backgrounds, which are out of your control, can be distracting. Watch the show beforehand to get a feel. For example a painting behind your head can be very distracting.

Here the angle of the camera, when on you only, for the most part can give the perception of the left hand edge of the frame "growing" from your left shoulder. Many viewers can find this a little distracting, a bit like a photograph of someone standing in front of a tall tree where the photographer has not considered the background and the tree protrudes from the subject's head.

3) Look At The Camera (in a natural way during conversation)

Often you spend most of the time looking at the presenters which is natural. However these are not the people you want to connect with, so a suggestion for live interviews is you look directly into the camera more. This allows the people watching to look into your eyes while you are speaking.

For example, try to arrange your position so that when you are speaking with the interviewers you also have some eye contact with the camera and therefore the audience at home.

Avoid looking down when you pause in the middle of a conversation. This does not look good. You may try to speak more accurately, but it is often much better to show it in a natural way.

4) Watch Excess and Distracting Hand Movements

Wow, this is hard. Some hand gestures, especially early in an interview can be a little distracting. Try to restrict this movement... if you look at the people carrying out the interview they appear to deliberately have their hands planted firmly to restrict such movements.

Some of your hand movements may take away from the point you are trying to make - especially when your hands are pointed internally and you lose your openness with the audience.

5) Dumb Down

The answers you give can be extremely informative, however sometimes people give answers with the purpose of sounding impressive rather than giving an answer that your audience can easily identify with.

Answer the most obvious question in a simple way

Often, this depends on how the interviewer asks the questions (they sometimes do them out of order), but there needs to be an initial question which illustrates why the topic is important.

If the why is answered in the end, initially your brain is distracted from the what because you don't know why a concept/message is important. Why, What, How, What if? is a good format to stick to.

6) Visuals Early

If there are some pictures, graphics or slide show about the topic use these early in the interview. It is a better way to get your message across, especially in a way that matches our strongest sense - visual

Well thought out props can also have a nice visual impact.

7) Seven Second Sound Bites

Analogies right at the end of an interview can lose their impact in the short time you have to deliver it. Often it is almost enough just to say that you use the analogy, without actually then describing the analogy. Often the 60 second grab of the analogy needs to be tightened because the audience gets a little lost in your explanation if you go into detail - you can't explain some complex concepts in a one minute spiel. Sometimes at the end of the interview the audience starts to lose interest as they lose track of the story.

8) Try Not To Say 'erm' and 'er' Too Often

Enough said. Especially if you are the expert!

9) Be Culturally Sensitive

For example, a reference to Americans compared with Australians might not be taken well by...........the American audience, who might be tuning in to the programme.

You never know who is watching.

10) Smile More

Use you smile more! Your smile can be a point of difference (along with your own unique personal background or story!) Unless of course it is a very serious subject.

11) Less Words

There is a temptation to use too many words too quickly: less is often more.

This article was written following feedback from Media Motivators readers who viewed a recent TV interview of the author.

If you missed it you can watch the TV interview here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What Is Podcasting? Media Motivators Podcast With Brendan Ang

What is podcasting? With the founder of Singapore's first podcast radio station Brendan Ang. Listen to our podcast interview below.
An interview with Brendan Ang who established Singapore's first podcasting radio station.

MP3 File