AMEN is in fact an acronym we use to help participants think about the message they want to get across when preparing for media interviews and presentations.
It stands for Audience, Message, Examples and Negatives. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Researching your audience is the most important part. Put simply, without knowing who your audience is you will not succeed.
If you are presenting to an audience of your peers you can afford to use more jargon or corporate speak and refer to common ground.
But if, to give another example, you are being interviewed for radio or television, your audience will be made up of people who have limited knowledge of your work and you will need to simplify your language accordingly.
Once you know who you are talking to, you can decide what it is you want or need to tell them.
To do this you must establish your one key message. That may not seem like a lot, but few people will remember more than one major point your will make.
So spend time working out what it is you want your audience to go away remembering. Do you want them to be persuaded of a point? Or do you want them to be motivated into action? Perhaps you are simply looking to teach them some new facts or skills.
Your key message should be capable of being spelt out in a single sentence of less than 20 words, otherwise it is likely to be too complex for people to remember.
If that sounds challenging, consider the words of Albert Einstein who once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Examples will help you explain or support the key message you are looking to deliver. They will bring your words to life, illustrate your points and stimulate emotions in your audience. But make sure you use human examples – people are interested in other people, not processes.
Strong human stories will always triumph over facts, statistics and clever arguments.
It is important to spend time thinking about any negative questions a journalist or member of an audience could put to you and how you would handle it. It will help you feel prepared and more confident and should help to dampen some of those pre-interview nerves. Although not necessarily negative, it is also worth considering what else is in the news agenda which you could be asked about. Has a rival company recently made a big announcement? Has your sector been in the headlines? Expect and prepare for the unexpected.
So, if you hear us saying AMEN you know why – use it in your interviews and presentation and you could deliver the performance of your prayers.
Media First are media and communications training specialists with over 30 years of experience. We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications coaches and media trainers.
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