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Speak Savvy the Zimmerman way

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Brett’s back on radio and his interview with executive director of the Australian Retailers Association Richard Zimmerman holds some tips for anyone who finds themselves in front of a microphone.

media training tips

Mr Zimmerman is good talent.

Richard is an old hand and showed it from the minute Brett made contact the night before. He called from the airport, confirmed the time, double-confirmed via email and provided a landline and back- up mobile number. What a pro.

Listen to the interview as you read through the observations below.

0.53 Opening remark. Richard starts the interview and immediately asserts himself. He is keen to clarify something from the outset and does. This gives him control. Control is good. Reasonability: He immediately states that ARA is uninterested in Saturday penalty rate reforms. This reasonability will disarm many listeners.

2.15: Disagreement: Richard wastes no time challenging Brett’s assertion that retailers have a choice to open.

3.10: Puts himself in the story. “I was talking to a guy yesterday…” Always good to demonstrate your involvement, experience and connections. This creates authority.

media training

This retail chappy seems happy with his terms and conditions.

3.50: More control, assertion and reasonability. “I want to make this clear…”  Points to Monash Uni research to underline the justification for his argument.

4.50: Anticipates audience reaction: He is keen to avoid alienating listeners who defend junior staff. He knows this in advance and spends time to clarify his stance.

5.55: Positions his argument as being all about creating employment – not employers.

7.14: Global comparisons demonstrate expertise and authority.

Score: Confident, competent, engaging, reasonable: 8/10

talk radio

Hootville is on the SoundCloud. Tune in. Now.

By the way – all of Brett’s show is available via SoundCloud.

This man needs Hootville. You do too.

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As Australian media trainers we were so … impressed … by Ryutaro Nonomura’s impassioned press conference performance that we decided to make a 46 second video ad utilising the remarkable display. The basic premise: don’t leave media training until it is too late.

For those of you not following Japanese political meltdowns (perhaps due to family commitments, work pressures or indifference) suffice to say that the citizens represented by the MP were outraged that he’d spent $40,000 of public money on visits to the local spa. Clearly the criticism hurt.  Enjoy.

It’s an extreme example but a good one – by the time you need media training, it’s too late. Many clients contact us for Speak Savvy 101 training and confess that they have been considering such media training for years.

In that time, media opportunities are going begging. Bad form. And then of course there’s always the chance that media will come knocking on your door with awkward questions. Message to CEOs and boards: stop waiting, get savvy.

Speak Savvy 101 is delivered across Australia by Brett de Hoedt who recently made an Australia-wide appearance from a small studio in Melbourne courtesy of ABC-TV’s Weekend Breakfast. Isn’t it smart to hire a media trainer who appears on the media?

Speak Savvy 101 is aimed at media spokespeople and anyone who presents or speaks to stakeholders. Lots of people hire him.If your media spokespeople need training contact Brett de Hoedt of Hootville right now. 0414 713 802.

media training al gore

500+ campaigners. 1 media trainer. 1 tart. Long story.

If we’re good enough to talk media at Al Gore’s Climate Reality event Hootville might be good enough to train you. We’ve also trained the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Commission, Berry Street, Our Community, University of Melbourne departments, Bush Heritage Australia, BirdLife Australia, Inner South Community Health,  Baw Baw Shire, Marriott Support Services, Environment Defender’s Office, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Service & more. Smart people, tough issues.

Hootville has media trained them all – CEOs, board members, senior management teams, young people, people with disabilities, homeless people, people with English as a second language. We can probably handle you.

People think we’re pretty damn good.

And if you’ve been mature enough to not watch that video yet – here’s your last chance. More on Speak Savvy 101 right here.

 

Brett talks climate change campaigning on ABC-TV

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media trainer Brett de Hoedt

How quickly the media trainer becomes the media performer.

Before speaking about media to 500+ aspiring environmental campaigners at Al Gore’s Climate Reality event in Melbourne, media trainer Brett de Hoedt was interviewed on ABC-TV’s Weekend Breakfast. So how well does a media trainer perform on live television? Judge for yourself.

Brett says it was a tricky interview: “The interview brief was rather fuzzy. I spoke to three or four different segment producers each of whom was just carrying on the work for someone else. Nobody had fully thought through what was to be tackled. The best investment I made was writing a pre-interview document suggesting some topics / issues. I also explained that I wasn’t an environmentalist or event organiser. I explained the topics that I could address with knowledge and certainty.

Brett - who does not lack confidence – spent six to eight hours prepping for this seven minute interview. Why so much? “Evaluating or defending the climate change movement’s campaigning is not something about which I specifically blog or speak,” he humbles. “Other topics would require little more prep than the ironing of a shirt but this wasn’t one of those.”

Of course, going-to-air live adds an element of risk. The interview was held in the remote studio in Melbourne talking directly down the barrel of a tiny camera. The room is small, hot and there’s no monitor to see your interviewer. You are spoken to via an earpiece. There was no briefing by the interviewer’s prior to her opening question – just a time countdown.

Brett himself rates his performance a 7 / 10. “On time, dressed, no swearing, looked reasonably comfortable, made a few decent points, didn’t accidentally call interviewer Kochie,” he says.

“Bonus points for clarifying the interview’s direction beforehand and the subsequent research. I directed the conversation back to what I wanted it to be a couple of times. Yeah – about a seven.” Not good enough but not bad.

Brett’s review of Brett: Brett’s first response: You could measure it (the climate movement’s campaigning results) in a positive way or a negative way… That’s good practice. Explaining that it can be measured in a positive or negative way paves the way for me to then go ahead and explain the two ways. That’s two bites of the cherry and more control for me. I always teach that, so it’s good to see that I did it.

 

Eliza: Last year’s election result seems to be a mandate for Tony Abbott and his government to move away from a pricing mechanism on carbon. So therefore do you think that things have really stalled? Brett: Yeah, it’s certainly not a vote in favour of the current campaign… Very, very bad.

I should not have accepted this characterisation and should have said: “Well the election was a measure of many things – carbon tax being just one of them. In fact its been broadly agreed that environment matters were almost entirely off the election agenda. Interestingly this week another poll confirmed that 80%+ of Australians want to reduce carbon.”

 

Eliza: You talk about the current way of campaigning. An Inconvenient Truth – there were quite a few fear messages. I mean that part of it was quite frightening, the prospects of what would happen. Do you think that fear has been somewhat of a problem?                                                                              

In any reasonably sophisticated interview there’s the question and then there’s the premise on which the question is based. The underlying premise here was that Al Gore had overstated his case in An Inconvenient Truth and that predictions had failed to come true.

This premise had to be identified and countered in real time. Thus I am happy with my response which was in part: If we’re saying that the worst impact of climate change is yet to happen, well, I’d say, according to a report from the World Health Organization 7 million people around the globe, 7 million, died prematurely from air pollution. A staggering statistic. We’ve just had our hottest summer on record in Australia. We’ve had I think the warmest autumn ever. So the impacts are right here, right now. So I don’t think we have to worry about terrible circumstances down the track. The here and now is quite bad enough to steel us to action.

I’m am also glad that I repeated a key stat – 7 million deaths. Who’d have thought my prep would have paid off?

 

Eliza: Do you feel that the other side of the argument is running a better public relations campaign?    Not a bad response by me but I should have added that much of the media has decided to ignore science and climate change with this a line like this:

It’s easy to maintain the status quo when there is media on your side despite the facts. Some media outlets in this country are now so politically-driven that they can’t even agree whether we’ve smoked more or less in the last year – despite ABS data and annual reports of tobacco companies.” 

 

Eliza: OK – so how do you counter that? This is a broad question so it provided an opportunity to promote the Climate Reality training. Also glad I got to use the phrase, “Tree hugging vegans” and speak of 30-year-long comas.  

climate change media training

Shell sells a C tax.

One big dumb error was not mentioning this blog post by Shell’s climate change advisor David Hone which argues passionately for a price on carbon. I had my schtick ready: “Eliza last night I read a blog post titled: 10 reasons why business should love a price on carbon. That’s the sort of article you’d expect to see on a greenie website but I found it on the Shell website. As in Shell oil. It was written by Shell’s own climate change advisor David Hone. When Shell is schilling for a price on carbon, it’s time the politicians caught up.” Bugger.

climate change media training

Always good to hear from one's public.

When I mentioned that climate change attracts criticism and kooks I wasn’t exaggerating. By the time I returned to Hootville HQ two emails – each debunking the climate change hoax – awaited me. Then there was this minor and poorly written Facebook trolling.

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