What TV Anchors Can Teach Executives About Public Speaking

Executives need broadcasting skills. I've been saying it for years.  Media training is critical these days for everybody but especially for executives who are the face of the   organization and who lead global businesses. Public speaking and media skills apply to public service announcements, internal video commercials and now company webcasts are using video. Speaking before a camera is  different from speaking live in a town hall format. So here are some quick speaking and media training tips to keep in mind when your presentation is being filmed.

  • Keep your energy high.  Television can be an energy drain.  Speak with enthusiasm.
  • Smile. It's important to show teeth. Otherwise, you'll look too serious or scared.
  • Use make-up. This applies to men and women. Bright lights can cause perspiration so have some pressed powder handy. Don't use lotions under your make-up. It will create a shiny finish.
  • Avoid metallic or shiny materials which can cause glare.
  • Ask about the backdrop color. Don't wear black if the background is black. You'll look like a mime. Never wear kelly green or shiny, bold patterns that can cause shimmer called moire.
  • Anchor yourself. Even a slight bounce will be exaggerated on camera.
  • Look directly into the camera and not at individuals. The director or camera person will take the necessary audience shots.
  • Use fewer and  smaller gestures.
  • Speak in soundbites. Television is a fast medium. Think of commercials and movie trailers-quick, short, compelling.
  • Rehearse your presentation several times.  If it's a live broadcast and you make a mistake, keep going.
  • Don't say anything more until you're told you're off the air. It's not over 'til it's over.

Video is the hottest marketing tool and in-house video webcasts will become the norm for executive speaking. Get media trained. It's time for your close-up.

Matt Damon Can Act. But Can He Speak?

Matt Damon is a good actor but is he a good public speaker? Every year while watching the Academy Awards, I'm amazed at the poor quality of the acceptance speeches.  It would seem that a professional actor would be a good speaker. The major public speaking flaw of these acceptance speeches is they go on too long and the actors ramble. So after reading Matt Damon's speech to the teachers' rally in Washington, D.C. I would give him high marks on a simple, to the point, and brief presentation.  What lessons can we learn? He begins by complimenting the audience and gets right to the point. He talks about how he flew from Vancouver to demonstrate it was important for him to be there. This creates rapport with the audience. He establishes his credibility when he speaks  about his mother being a teacher, his experience as a student and the impact of his teachers on his success today.  He addresses the current issues of teaching to achieve test scores vs " encouraging creativity and original ideas; knowing who students are,  seeing their strengths and helping them realize their talents". Mr. Damon ends by acknowledging teachers for their impact even in the face of criticism and unproductive reforms.  He begins his speech on a  high note and he ends on a high.  He challenges the audience during times of negative media to remember that there are millions who stand behind them.  He followed Franklin D. Roosevelt's  sage public speaking advice, "Be sincere, be brief and be seated."

To read his speech click here.