"I'm here so I won't get fined..."With a $500,000 fine looming, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch made a bizarre appearance at Super Bowl Media Day. The famously tight-lipped running back gave a big eff you to reporters and the NFL who forced him in front of a microphone for the leaque minimum five minutes by responding to 25 straight questions with the same answer: "I'm here so I won't get fined."
All of this begs the question: Why not hire a media trainer?
Last year I detailed how to eliminate your stage fright. But for some, reading a column and taking a bit of advice isn't enough. I mean, even kings need special exercises ala Colin Firth in his Academy Award winning turn in the "The King's Speech" ...
"I'm a thistle-sifter. I have a sieve of sifted thistles and a sieve of unsifted thistles. Because I'm a thistle-sifter."Whether giving an interview to CNN, speaking to an audience of 1 to 1,000 or facing a camera, getting the proper training enables the comport you need to help you avoid the mistakes that everyone makes.
In my early media days I was given a guide to conquering the media. I still have it an it's been invaluable for decades as both a speaker and a trainer. I call it the Holy Grail of Media...perhaps that's a stretch...
- Don’t be afraid of the interview.
- Keep in mind that the great majority of reporters are cordial people who are not out to harm you. They just want to get a story that will satisfy their editors and go home to their family.
- Reporters hate when someone misleads or lies to them. Reporters don’t like it when their stories have to be corrected through no fault of their own and because of inaccurate information provided to them.
- Don’t “wing it.” Come prepared with notes regarding the topic.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell the reporter that you’ll get back with an answer.
- An interview is not a legal hearing. It’s okay to tell a reporter that some information is proprietary.
- Just because a reporter puts away a notebook or turns off a tape recorder doesn’t mean the interview is over and you can say anything without it being used.
- If a reporter makes a statement that you do not agree with, say so. Remaining quiet may give the impression that you agree.
- Don’t answer if you are not sure of a reporter’s question. Always ask for a clarification.
- Never say anything negative about an individual or company.
- Don’t stray from the subject of the interview to comment on the day’s news. That might open up a new line of questioning.
- If a print reporter signals that the interview is over but the client wants to provide additional information, it’s okay to ask the reporter for a few more minutes.
- Reporters like facts and figures. Instead of just voicing an opinion, back it up with facts and figures.
- Prior to departing, let the reporter know how you can be contacted if additional information is needed.
- And most important, never lie to a reporter.
So Marshawn, next time media day rolls around, give the Media Guy a ring...or just email me.