media training advice: avoid performances like this

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media training advice

Ok - gimme a minute. Which one is Libya again?

Republican nomination candidate Herman Cain has had a bad fortnight what with detailed sexual harassment allegations from multiple sources and whatnot. Libido management issues aside, his credibility as a candidate was not helped by this performance which you can view by scrolling down a tad from here. It’s actually quite awkward to watch. But not nearly as it would have been for Mr Cain. Our advice based on this? Communications Commandment #3 Know thy Message – both what you want to say and how you want to say it.

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best Facebook pages for organisations

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social media training

Most leading Facebook pages implore visitors to like them. (Desperados.)

Whenever Brett delivers Online Savvy 101 he gets a chance to spread his discontent with Facebook which he believes underdelivers for many organisations. Here; to counterbalance his negativity are a bunch of 15 Facebook pages from organisations (corporate) that all have good habits worth copying.

This is the sort of content that is covered in the December 1 webinar Social Media Savvy 101. Is learning how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively worth two hours and $200?



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Good copy part two

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good copywriting example

Damn fine writing.

Much has been written about Peter Roebuck’s death and much made of his abilities as a writer. You don’t have to love the sound of leather-on-willow to appreciate the skills behind these samples.

Public speaking advice from the Govenor General

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speechmaking advice

You try telling the GG that her speech needs toning down.

If you didn’t switch off during the botched post-race horseback interview you may have seen Her Excellency the Govenor General’s speech at the Melbourne Cup.

We have watched these speeches grow in both length and verve in recent years. In short, we give top marks to Quentin Bryce for attempting to inject some poetry into a staid presentation.

She is as stylish in her speech as she is in her couture and she really took a chance talking about “gallons of rum, two up and our troops in Afghanistan.” It wasn’t a speech it was a bush ballad. See if we’re wrong

It had the hallmarks of a new speechwriter trying to make his or her mark with the boss.

However it was too long, too indulgent and plain inappropriate for a mass audience, with low fidelity speakers and high blood alcohol content. It was wasted on an inattentive audience in the midst of an anti-climax. It was also a speech that may have read smoothly enough to the author in private but was a true challenge to read aloud.

Lessons for speechmakers everywhere:

  • keep it short as possible;
  • consider if the audience is there to hear you or if you are a necessary evil;
  • make sure that what flows well in your head can be read aloud equally smoothly.

It is harder and harder to assume common knowledge among large mainstream audiences. How many of the 100,000 revellers knew (or cared) about “expatriation for poaching” or the battle of Beersheba? To many in attendance, a Beersheba sounds alluringly like a drink. “Dumb bogans, the lot of them.” commented Squiggle. We concur.

Communications Commandment #2: Know they audience. Communications Commandment #4: Know thy medium.


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media training in Sydney

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media training in Sydney

A double dose of media training coming their way. Lucky sods.

More media training in Sydney – this time with disability support service Ability Options.

Over two days in November, Ability Options will gather its posse for Media Savvy 101 and Speak Savvy 101.

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speaker training and video production project in Melbourne

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Media trainers Hootville Communications has an interesting February approaching after its engagement today by Marriott Support Services in Melbourne. Brett de Hoedt will be training Marriott’s 15+ ambassadors. The ambassadors are all young adults with disabilities who speak publicly in various fora about making the transition from school to work / life / further study.

speaker training for people with disabilities

The Mayor will be given Ambassadorial treatment.

Brett will be holding two group sessions with the ambassadors a month apart during which he will put the speakers through their steps, looking for additional content and new stage techniques. Between the group sessions will be one-to-one sessions.

On top of the speaker training Brett will be producing 15 three-minute video profiles of the ambassadors aimed at securing more gigs in 2012. Brett is currently investigating legitimate ways to justify his onscreen presence in the 15 videos. We’ll keep you posted.

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Fundraising platform recommendations wanted

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A client of our wants a personal recommendation on fundraising platforms. You know – the sites that allow passionate supporters to raise money from their networks via running marathons and the like such as Everyday Hero etc…

fundraising advice wanted

There's nothing unusual about this. Nothing at all.

Our client is a small over-achiever of an organisation, run entirely by volunteers. They were recently taken aback by the steep commission taken by one leading site.

We also want them to use a site that makes it easy for fundraisers to raise more funds through social media and other cunning features. Of course we want a site that has runs on the board and is proven to work.

Please – no direct approaches from such services. We want the Citizens to speak. Email


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Nonprofits websites that are rather good

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No doubt their brochures are top notch too.

Check out these rather good nonprofit websites.


free stuff for community groups

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emcee sydney

Just think - Brett may have written a Lowdown on this very desk.

Please help Hootville declutter and attain peace by taking away this useless (to us) bunch of office equipment and furniture. Everything is free to a good home – preferably a small, poor community group. You’ll have to pick up the booty from Prahran, Melbourne.



We have four of these desktops (above) each measuring approximately 180cm x 60cms and ranging from good to very good condition. They sit unattached on the pair of bases. The bases each have a shelf which can be removed to accommodate a desktop computer tower. We only have two pairs of the bases but the desktops sit equally well on two-drawer filing cabinets. Get creative. How about stacks of unread annual reports?

media trainer in melbourne
Ignored, depressed, purposeless.

This mobile magnetic whiteboard is actually rather good. It can accommodate pads of butchers paper from the two black screws you can see at the top of the contraption. It has arms that can extend either side to display extra information, sits on castors, has a little tray for markers and works in most languages.

Just to think – Squiggle first brainstormed the corporate governance structure for Dachshunds Without Leashes on this very whiteboard.

Here’s the deal – please email through your request with your telephone number and a brief explanation of your group. We’ll gather the first half a dozen or so and give it to who we see as most worthy. Zero correspondence will be entered into. You’ll need to get them out of our site ASAP.

copywriting advice for social media, online and old fashioned print

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During last week’s Copy Savvy webinar one question posed by all participants was more or less this: “How do we write appropriately for online communications – website, social media and eNewsletters – as compared to print? What should we do differently?”

This is a logical concern which implies that writers should write differently for different media as they have different qualities. This is true, though we think it misses one consideration that is even more important: audience.

We’ve included some tips for online writing below but here’s our point:

The tone you use, the issues you raise and the content you publish should be primarily influenced by your purposes and the audience at which you are aiming; not the medium.

Let’s compare writing a brochure for your broad-based disability service and writing online copy. The brochure will end up in GP waiting rooms, on the trestle table at community expos and on your reception desk. Yes the fact that it is a brochure will influence how you write. More influential though, should be the broad audience to which you are speaking, which has very little awareness of you and very little demonstrated commitment to you. This audience is largely chancing across your information so write accordingly.

People visiting your website are there by choice. You can presume some interest in your content, some connection to your cause albeit fleeting. Depending on the page they are visiting you may be able to assume that they are people with a disability looking for a service, carers of people with a disability, people looking to work at your organisation or prospective donors. Each audience should be addressed with a different tone. Changing tone for each audience is more important than changing tone for the medium.

Look at your website. Does the tone change from section to section to reflect the audience? There should be no one single audience for your website.

Progressing from websites to more social media such as Facebook, eNewsletters or Twitter the audience changes again as much as the media. People who choose to befriend or befollow* you have demonstrated an active interest in you. To some degree these audiences share your concerns, so talk to them in a manner befitting a friend or colleague. You can expect some support, some emotional connection.

social media training example

The Council of Adult Education’s Twittering shows great understanding of the medium. It is fun, personal, helpful. Kudos CAE.

That said; of course there are some rules of thumb to apply to online writing.

Online attention spans are minimal so copy should be shorter. That said, Google likes 600-800 words a page as it believes these sites to be more genuine, more worthy of reference.

Search engine optimisation is key so write with your researched keywords in mind. (More about this in SEO Savvy 101 Thursday October 27). Use them early and often.

Use more images to bring your copy to life.

Change tone based on the section of the website for which you are writing. Are you trying to connect to donors, volunteers, job applicants, service users?

Utilise the ability to link to other articles and audio.

Why wouldn’t you utilise the ability to embed video?

You need to be genuinely committed to creating an ongoing flow of copy over time in the style of a magazine as we’ve written about previously.

social media training

This displays zero understanding of the specific medium.

Social media copy should be the most personal, passionate.

Your copy should read as if it come from a person not an organisation.

Social media is all about sharing content of mutual interest. Not shameless plugging.

*there is no such word

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