Tags - key messages
A good message is like an arrow that hits the bullseye. But remember that in an interview, there’s only so much time and thus only so many arrows you can loose off. There’s always a clock ticking away, whehter it’s in a studio because airtime is running out or in front of an audience because attention is going down.
Have your key messages ready, and you will find it easier to influence a conversation or an interview. If you can tell your story concisely, clearly, in a positive tone, consistently and credibly, you will be heard, or at least you will be able to make yourself heard.
But of course, as they are, your key messages won’t simply fit into any old interview. So get some tools. One is bridging (that is, closing) the gap between a question and your key message. This is most useful when the question is about something you would rather not talk about. Your spontaneous reaction might be: “No comment.” But that will destroy whatever good will there was so far. Better not to say what you can’t say, and instead lead over to what you can say. The easiest way to do this is simply to say so: “What I can say is this.” And then state your message. Or how about: “What’s important to us is…”
Do you get stage fright before going to face an audience? Then you’re in good company. A little stage fright is no bad thing, because it’ll help you concentrate. But too much stage fright can paralyse you, and then you need to react. Here’s a little rescue package.
First, take your time to prepare for your moment on stage. An hour’s rest would be ideal. You could go for a walk in the fresh air, put all other issues to one side and put the finishing touches on what you are about to say.
Loosen up physically. There’s lots of things you can do for that without breaking in a sweat: Bounce up and down lightly, roll on your feet from your heels to your toes, rotate your arms in big circles, or gently stretch your head and neck muscles to relax them.
Devising key messages is important for any organization and most professionals, but it can also be hard. To formulate a system of key messages, an individual or organization needs to come clean about who they are and what is important to them. As long as this is about technical questions, it’s easy. But the key messages that really matter are those that have an emotional component, and agreeing on something that is emotional can be, well, emotional. It also quickly becomes a political issue, and that means everyone will consider himself an expert.
The most important thing a media coach can tell you is: it’s your confidence that matters. Make sure you stand firm on whatever stage you take. The first thing people notice is not what you say, but how you look, how you stand, how you move.
The next thing they notice is the sound of your voice and the quality of your delivery. Then and only then does your content register with your audience, so make sure you have your key messages ready and get them out quickly. You never know when you will lose your audience. Whatever you get across before that is an asset, everything else is a liability. Remember what makes key messages effective.