“Oh, it’s ok for them, they’re natural-born communicators.”

Have you ever said those words? If you’re anything like me, you’ve said similar phrases.

When I was struggling in the BBC, I used to say ridiculous statements like:

“Oh, they went to the right Universities.” Or, “Of course they’re good they got better GCSE grades!”

I now know how those words were just excuses.

You see, the truth is there is no such thing as a natural born communicator. The difference that makes the difference is learning fundamental skills

media training - speaking with impact

On thin ice

If you watch Dancing on Ice, notice how Torvill and Dean make skating look sublime and dead easy. They are effortless and graceful at the same time.

The same is true for so-called natural communicators. To become a “natural speaker” is a process of time and learning specific skills.

Speaking with Impact

Imagine for a moment that you’re meeting a reporter to share your brand story. You want to get a quote in the finished article. To do that, you must influence the reporter. To impact the journalists’ thinking requires three skills:

  1. Learn how to speak with impact.
  2. Develop presentation skills to deliver precise, pithy comments
  3. Master a simple three-step process.

None of those skills has anything to do with our natural personality. They reflect a person’s desire to learn, grow and improve.

It’s a simple choice – take action to grow new skills, or do nothing and continue to struggle.

I’ll share the three-step process in a moment but before that…

Message falls flat!

Every video you make, every presentation you give, and every media interview needs a beautiful quote. Without a standout comment, your message will fail. You will not influence the audience; you’ll not seal a deal, and you will not state the most critical point in your whole message!

In a moment, I’ll show you how to deliver a quote. The simplicity will astound you. First, here are three reasons why leaders struggle to get quotes in the media.

  1. They pummel reporters with a Tsunami of facts!     
  2. Their comments are long winded or sound cold and lack feeling.
  3. They give a message and can’t resist saying everything.

Here’s a tip – when you need to deliver a quote don’t include background information or detail.

Quotes Influence People

Every time a leader speaks she needs one quote that stands out and clobbers people in the head. It’s one way of influencing people, and it’s a way of becoming memorable.

  • Journalists want quotes because they reveal your company’s specific and correct perspective.
  • Videos need quotes to seize people’s attention, so they listen.
  • And every single presentation needs quotes; they help audiences remember the critical parts of your story.

Mediocre speakers don’t impact audiences, nor do they use quotes. The best speakers stand out because their quotes make them instantly memorable and exciting.

The three step system for speaking with impact.

The three-step system

P C B

Plan – invest time to plan quotes. Winging it brings mediocre performance, and you’re not average, are you?

Communicate – Select one of 9 different speech elements. Here are five:

  1. Rhetorical questions
  2. Emotions
  3. Bold action words
  4. Contrasts
  5. Triplets

Brainstorm – perform three actions:

  1. Pick one theme for your message. Then brainstorm relevant words and ideas for your issue.
  2. Identify keywords for your topic.
  3. Jot down exciting ways to communicate your quote.

Quote example

Select one speech element. Let’s choose rhetorical questions.

Consider your theme; so let’s assume we are representing a recycling company. Our idea is “helping people recycle more.”

Our keywords include – faster, simpler, huge investment.

A reporter for your local BBC radio station says “Isn’t recycling confusing by asking people to put items in multiple bins and boxes?”

Your response:

“We’ve heard that before. But, is recycling confusing? [Rhetorical question]

“We’ve invested huge sums in making recycling simpler, easier and faster.” [Quote]

A quote is always short, between 8 to 12 seconds. The aim is to state your #1 message without any context or detail.

Practice makes perfect

Implement the P.C.B system and see how your messages gain impact.

For more tips on media communications, send an email to susan@t-r-t.co.uk or telephone 0114 287 3170.

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