Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Become a focus-shifter.

It’s a nifty way to evict the speaking butterflies that get between you and confidence. But first, a little background.

No-one can truly multi-task.

Imagine this. You're walking past a shop with a sign Come on in! New customers welcome. There's a manager in the doorway trying to look welcoming. You point at the sign, and speak with a sceptical tone.

"I dont think so," you say. "I saw on TV that four of your customers just died in there."
The manager replies, "Here at Ace Services we take health and safety very seriously." Then he walks away.
You call questions after him, but he doesn't turn around and answer.

Are you reassured now? 

Of course not. And yet that bland, single-serve, meaningless reassurance is what many organisations issue when faced with a crisis. They send the mainstream media a statement with minimal relevance to the central issue, then make themselves unavailable for follow-up questions, hoping to starve the issue of oxygen. 

That's credibility suicide. It looks shifty. It looks as if you've been caught out doing something embarrassing and cannot look the public in the eye. If all you issue is that one bland statement, you can't blame the mainstream media for publishing it, nor social media for jumping right into attack mode.

Even when legal or procedural issues mean you can't yet comment on some details, you have to front up saying so. The question is not, do you front up. It's how you front up.  In a crisis get expert media consultant advice on what to say and when. In the meantime here are a few of my blogs that might help.

Now, what if it's not a crisis? Just something you think the public should know.  The short answer is that the same make-yourself-available principle applies - you're happy to give interviews to mainstream media and reputable bloggers, and you're happy to interact on social media. You're happy to be known. Obviously there is a longer answer, but that's for another time. 







About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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