For immediate release
Staten Island, NY: March 15,1999 — After proving their physical prowess on the court, the WNBA is taking their message into the high schools. Five players will be spokespersons for the 1999 “Be Active” program that encourages students to “Play Fit and Stay Fit”. The players will first present a positive message about staying fit and then rotate the groups through a general fitness clinic. The teens gain confidence that they don’t have to be athletes to be physically fit. The clinics are held in various high schools and provide an opportunity for high school students to learn the physical and mental discipline that comes with staying fit.
Diane DiResta, a Staten Island based speech coach and media trainer for sports and entertainment celebrities, and author of Knockout Presentations, trained the players on January 26th in a new role as spokespersons. The “Be Active” program, which is sponsored by Sears, was initiated last year, when Ms. DiResta was hired to coach Ruthie Bolton of the Sacramento Monarchs to be the first spokesperson. Due to the success that year, Ms. DiResta was asked to train Ruthie and four additional players: Tammi Reiss, Dawn Staley, Suzie McConnell, and Teresa Weatherspoon. The players were coached on delivering the message points, interviewing with the media, and motivating teen audiences. “The biggest benefit to the players is being able to make a difference to teen girls, ” states DiResta. “Teens can be cynical. We don’t talk down to them,” she says. “Beginning spokespersons tend to talk too much. We move them from lecturing to facilitating. Teens will buy into the message when they are part of the discussion, when they feel heard.”
“The most important thing is to connect with the audience. Build trust and speak from your passion,” states DiResta. “The rest is just technique.” The spokespersons need to demonstrate a variety of skills: presenting a clear message, motivating positive change, facilitating discussions, managing difficult questions, coordinating the clinics, and handling media interviews. “It’s important that the players give the right message in the right way and that takes practice,” DiResta says. “They are already performers. We are showing them how to move from the basketball court to the platform.” More companies are hiring celebrities, industry experts, and specialists as spokespersons. DiResta Communications specializes in training spokespersons executives, sales professionals, technical experts, and non-native professionals to be successful communicators.