Vivienne’s top tips when you have been asked to engage with the local media
This is follow up media information from FDCAQ Media training session held at FDCAQ on the 4th of November 2016 facilitated by Vivienne Wynter.
Broadcast media: TV and Radio and Print tips from an insider:
- Wear simple clothes and avoid thin stripes dots and complex patterns which strobe in the lights and don’t translate well. Wear block colours and not too much black (funereal) or white (makes people look big and clinical). Ideally black pants or skirt with flattering top in a block colour. Nothing distracting like elaborate earrings or brooches. Dress simply and keep still, and keep a direct gaze for TV appearances. Imagine you are speaking to one person (who approves of you). Smile with your eyes as well as your mouth.
- Don’t fiddle with your hands. Keep them still. (I hold mine behind my back in stand up interviews).
- Be the Family Day Care brand: friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, trustworthy, plain speaking.
- Be confident. Your experience as an educator means you are qualified to give expert comment.
- Prepare your lines beforehand and review them – no more than three or you will probably forget them.
- Pre-recorded TV interview – do again if you fluff your lines (we all do it).
- Be prepared for a general question – ‘What is quality child care? What does it look like? Can put you off guard because there’s so much to say. Be prepared with your lines and try not to rave but make a key point or two. Media is not about telling the whole story – it’s about delivering a few take home messages so listeners form an impression of an issue and maybe want to find out more. Don’t give chapter and verse.
- Pause. Pause.
- Slow down. Slow down. Slow down.
- Smile. Smile.
- Watch and listen to yourself on TV. There is no better way to learn.
- Be mindful of body language and steady eye contact.
- Try be animated and passionate – it makes good TV.
- Hair and makeup – do them. Spray loose hairs down so they are not a dancing distraction catching the light or the breeze. Lipstick defines your mouth. Viewers are looking at your eyes and mouth so defining them makes your face easier to read. Use your eyes and mouth to be expressive
- Listen to child care centre director Nicole Spark on The World Today about EYQF http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3908976.htm First time she did media – did well.
- News, programs (breakfast program, drive program), current affairs – speak to time slot. Brekkie is chatty, short interviews. Use the small amount of time well. Drive is more hard news and current affairs with more in depth interviews. Match the tone of the program.
- In a live radio interview, keep still in your chair.
- Give short self-contained answers with pauses for the interviewer to come in.
- Slow down.
- Ums and Ahs. Slow down. Practice a 30 second spiel without um and ah. It’s a matter of being mindful of speaking clearly in complete sentences. Consciously eliminate ums and ahs from your media presentation.
- Imagine one listener (one person will be listening).
- It’s just a conversation – hopefully a lively one.
- Pause – leave clean breaks between your sentences so you don’t get interrupted or cut off.
- Give key points not the whole book. Smile – it comes across.
- Use anecdotes (mini-examples).
- Warmth and humour.
- Get the presenter’s name right – ask the producer booking the interview. Nothing sounds worse than a politician from interstate calling a presenter ‘Caroline’ when regular listeners know her name is ‘Carolyn’.
- Pause while journalists write to give them time. Most don’t have great shorthand!
- It’s fine to ask ‘read that quote back to me’ and if it’s not quite right, give them another one or rephrase.
- On and off the record – don’t say anything off the record. It you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it.
- Newspaper photos. Like TV – simple clothing and hair is best. Smile and brighten your eyes by opening them a bit more than usual.
- The photo is ALL about the eyes and the face. Be animated if you can.
- Clothing and background. A little bit of colour pops. A touch of red clothing, a green background is great.
- Photographers want photos showing relationships or natural action. Interact with children or environment around you.
- You don’t have to do what photographers ask you to do. Remember Marilyn Monroe standing over the air vent? She regretted that. Remember Alexander Downer in fishnets? A Certain Prime Minister in speedos. Only agree to requests you will be comfortable with.
- Branding doesn’t’ matter for news photos. Photographers and camera operators don’t want to run an ad with a brand or logo showing and they will cut out where possible. They want the photo to tell a story. Leave business names and Family Day Care logos out of the background.
- Smile: it makes everyone look their best.