Eddie and the emu

The last month has shown us time and again the power of the media here and abroad. General David Morrison left no doubt as to the ADF’s position on sexism, and showed real class in his address to the troops. Eddie McGuire owes much to the media for his fame and fortune, but slipped severely; adding to the racial vilification of Sydney Swans AFL captain Adam Goodes. It appears that either he put the desire to crack a joke ahead of using his brain, or that in his tiredness allowed his subconscious ‘casual racism’ to surface. Either way, he’ll find it hard to convince anyone that he’s as enlightened as he claims. Adam GoodesHarry O’Brien and others made intelligent use of social media to address the issue, and maintained impeccable dignity.

In the US, a cooking show presenter called Paula Deen was recorded making racially abusive comments, and two days later in response to an outraged network and public, posted this atrocious apology. It’s non-specific, fails to address the reasons behind her words, is heavily edited and reeks of self-pitying desperation. So, if media pros like Eddie and Paula can make a mess of their media interactions, what chance do the rest of us have? (Personal integrity is a start – if you have that, your chances are good!)

Maybe you’re a CEO, a school principal or a sports star and you have to face the press. A teacher’s committed a crime, the board’s sacked your coach, there’s an accident in your factory, an oil spill’s hit the headlines, the company’s profit forecast’s been slashed…

It’s just not disasters that necessitate swift and efficient communications with radio, television, print and electronic media. You might be launching a new business, partnership, merger; showcasing an event or innovative product; presenting as an expert in your field; eulogizing a famous friend; or arguing for a change to legislation.

It’s surprising how often this is the time the thought ‘I need media training’ crosses people’s minds. By now though, it’s too late. (Look at the intensity of our emu’s gaze in the picture above. We chose him/her to represent the magnifying lens of the media because those piercing orange eyes are like the techniques and lenses of journalists whose job it is to find the most explosive story they can – every day.)

Because by now you’re under stress and you don’t take in any of what you’re being told about how to avoid the traps and maximize the opportunities presented by the powerful, pervasive media.

So you plow on and do your best, but it’s not the best you could do, and the camera magnifies every nuance and facial expression and bead of sweat. You seem nervous, shifty, aggressive, defensive, insensitive, distant…and the share price in ‘brand you’ keeps tumbling.

You need to know how the media works, and how you can make media work for you. Luckily, you’re in the right place!

Take the chance to identify the traps and opportunities that engaging with all types of media bring, and ensure that when you enter the lions’ den, you know how lions think. Because how you interact with media, could well determine how much you earn next year (or even next week!). Having spent much of last week in Canberra talking with MPs and dairy industry leaders, REDgum has seen first hand the favors that media affords the orators, the opportunists and the populists, and the voracity with which it eats those who tread without knowledge or wisdom in its realm.

REDgum Communications offers the most insightful, knowledgeable, empowering media communications training and coaching you’ll find anywhere. Give us a call to create your own positive media presence – preferably before you need to speak on record, and definitely before there’s a crisis.

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James Freemantle

Company founder James Freemantle has worked internationally in communications and training for over two decades, helping people to experience dramatic improvement in their abilities to express, influence and inspire. Professional sportspeople, entertainers and executives rely on him to enhance their abilities in presentation techniques, personal branding and media training.

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