Tag: #publicspeaking

Showcase return on investments

It’s about demonstrating a return on investments. Nowadays, everyone is potentially a journalist. Mobile phones enable us to film what’s happening before us and record decent sound (if you know what you’re doing). This is a blessing and a curse. For the development sector, it’s terrific. It means showing your results, of ‘aid in action’, improving lives of the more vulnerable has never been easier. The costs of gathering multimedia content have been drastically reduced. This is especially helpful for smaller non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who sometimes believe it is harder for them to cut through when they are competing in a crowded campaigning space alongside much larger organisations. It all means smaller NGOs can more easily punch above their weight, especially if their programmes are community-focussed, which is not always the case for larger organisations, including the UN sector. So, showcase results of ‘aid in action’, of when aid is making an impact and improving the lives of the more vulnerable. Interestingly, more and more journalists in diverse media markets are calling for exactly this; proof of aid working. No longer are they wowed by large donations in the development sector. The first question is often: “Can you take me to a community where I can interview those who are benefitting from these large donations?”.  It’s all about demonstrating a return on investments.

The challenge posed by data

The use of figures, or data, in media interviews and public speaking is increasingly contentious. The first point, of course, is that any data referred to must be accurate. This, in itself, has become a hot topic. Data can be misused. Then, once we know a piece of data is accurate there is the need to make sure your data makes sense, or resonates, with your target public(s). Too, too often, data is banded around in a way that is meaningless. Simply quoting million or billions of something doesn’t actually mean much to most people. You have to make sure your figures hit home. How do you do this? Recent thinking is providing us with new ways of offering up key data. The need to know how to do this is of premium importance. This became abundantly clear in our most recent media training course with public health advocates drawn from across the world. How often do you use data and how do you serve up data? Big questions now being answered.

Muscle memory

It was fascinating to analyse a #MelindaGates interview on BBC Radio with public health advocates on our  recent ’20secondsmedia’ media training & public speaking course in Amsterdam. Among the many elements that became abundantly clear in her performance was the power of muscle memory. She had, of course, worked hard overtime to remember key messages. Hence, during a challenging series of exchanges with the interviewer,  who tried on many occasions to induce her to criticise D Trump and the Pope, she never wavered. She kept bridging back into her key messages and hammered them home. It was a performance that drew heavily on instinct; those key messages about child mortality absorbed in her muscle memory. It shows that effective, polished public speaking, like high-level musical and sports performance, is the work of many years of hard work. You drill, and drill, techniques and allow them to seep into the memory. Even if your mind goes blank, the muscle memory will rarely let you down.