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You may not think there is a particularly obvious link between being a journalist and helping people to become better presenters.
But reporters have an unrivalled ability to put themselves in the audience’s shoes, understand what makes them tick and maintain their attention – crucial tools for any successful presentation and the reason why they deliver our presentation skills training courses.
Whether you are preparing to present to customers or colleagues, delivering an online presentation or perhaps filming a video, journalists are ideally placed to help make your presentations more attention-grabbing, informative and generally more effective.
Here are nine reasons why we think they make the best presentation trainers:
1. First Impression
In a presentation you have 10 seconds to get your all-important first impression right. This is part of everyday working life for journalists who constantly have to ensure their story introductions grab attention.
Broadcast journalists depend on their voice and can show presentation training delegates how to make their delivery more compelling by adding light and shade to their voice. They will also help them resolve the monotone delivery which can ruin so many presentations. Corporate audiences are sophisticated and they judge how things are said as much as what is said.
The more you know about your audience the more effective you will be at making the content of your presentations appealing to them. When journalists consider a story idea they are looking at whether it is relevant to their viewers, listeners and readers. To put this into context, it is the reason why some stories which appear in broadsheet newspapers do not get covered by the tabloids.
Audiences switch off when presentations don’t flow. Instead of your messages, their minds wander off to thoughts about how they are going to get home, what they are going to have for dinner or what the outcome of the big match might be. Structure is key to avoiding your presentation becoming little more than a ramble. Journalists are ideally placed to help get this structure right and it is the same with media stories – the audience will quickly switch off if it becomes hard to follow.
Journalists know audiences hate jargon and that it causes them to lose interest and struggle to understand the message. Presenters need to avoid phrases like ‘service users’, ‘best practice’ and ‘synergies’ just as much as media spokespeople. Journalists are ideally placed to help presenters simplify their language to improve engagement and comprehension. The reading age (in other words the age at which someone should be able to read it) of The Sun, for example, is between seven and nine.
6. Telling stories
Crafting storytelling into a presentation will make messages much more memorable. And who better to learn from than people who are paid to identify and produce stories every day?
A presentation audience is much more likely to be engaged by something new or when a topic people are talking about is being discussed. Journalists are ideally placed to help presenters understand what is ‘newsworthy’ and what will interest audiences.
People like to hear stories about other people whether they are listening to a presentation or watching the news. And journalists are experts at finding the human interest angle. Take a look at any newspaper, news website or news programme and you will find all the stories have a human angle. Even if you think your message does not necessarily have a human angle, a reporter will help you identify it.
9. Difficult questions How many times have you seen a good presentation unravel during the question and answer session at the end when the presenter struggles to cope with difficult questions? Journalists are ideally placed to show presenters how to cope with these questions and get back to their messages.
We could also go on to mention how journalists are ideally placed to help presenters work with autocues, manage nerves and increase your personal impact, but that would ruin our rather catchy headline.
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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