10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life

10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life

For most people, becoming a great communicator is a lifelong endeavor. One of the best ways to become a better communicator is to become a better listener. To be a good listener, you must improve your ability to concentrate and refrain from hastily jumping to conclusions about what others are saying or asking of you. You must be able to concentrate fully on what another person is saying in order to retain and process the information.

The best interviewers are astute listeners and observers. They are able to pick up on the smallest bits of information and the most minute cues (both verbal and nonverbal), to lead them to the next insightful question or comment.

The best interviewees are also excellent listeners and observers. They do not just shut up and wait for their turn to talk: they allow the interviewer to complete his or her statement or question before responding. They may even give themselves a second to take in what they just heard before responding.

Even if you think you know what an interviewer is asking of you or stating, you must listen closely to be sure you are not simply responding on auto-pilot, which is a temptation, especially for people who are frequently interviewed by the media surrounding the same topics.

If you want to improve your listening skills so you can be more effective in media interviews, or in almost any area of your life, make it a priority.

Here are 10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life:

1. Watch one minute of your favorite TV show or movie. Then, repeat the dialogue to see if you can match what was said. If you can master a line or two, try to do this with longer segments. This exercise can help you improve your ability to concentrate and your memory.

2. Watch a longer segment of a TV show or movie, and then try to sum up the meaning of what transpired. Then, watch segment again and see if you agree with your own summation or if you feel that you missed some important information or nonverbal cues. You can also think about whether or not you made inaccurate assumptions about the conversation due to snap judgments that you made. This exercise can help you assess your comprehension abilities and your level of open-mindedness.

3. In daily conversations, ask more open-ended questions than you may be used to asking, and make sure your mind does not wander while the other person is talking.

4. If you have someone who can practice with you, practice repeating what your partner has said. Use an app on your phone or an audio recorder to record what the person said and what you repeated back. Then, you can listen to both parts of the conversation to see what you missed. If you find yourself missing a lot of what is said in a conversation, try to identify where your focus was when the other person was speaking. Was your mind wandering?

5. In conversations, pay attention to your body language when you are listening. Are you doing anything that might make the person who is speaking feel rushed, such as looking at your watch, sighing heavily, or moving your feet toward the door? Could any of your body language or facial expressions indicate that you are judging or dismissing the person who is speaking? Setting up a video camera to record yourself during conversations would be beneficial, but the presence of a camera can make people behave unnaturally and to mask their typical communication behaviors.

6. Try to avoid interrupting others. There are times that you may need to interrupt in order to ask for clarification in order to keep up with what someone is saying. However, it is good to get in the habit of listening until the person who is speaking has completed his or her though.

7. If you ask a question that takes the speaker off topic, help him or her to get back on track by saying something like, “You were talking about your visit to Tokyo. Tell me more about that.”

8. Pay attention to nonverbal cues. Listening well encompasses the keen observation of the speaker’s body language, from head to toe. In phone interviews and conversations, listen for auditory cues, like lengthy pauses and tone of voice. Nonverbal cues can tell you when someone needs more clarification, wants to move on to another topic, or feels a certain way about the conversation.

9. Be empathetic. Putting yourself in the position of the person who is speaking will help you to understand his or her perspective. In the case of a media interview, if you understand that the person interviewing you is trying to do the best job possible and to give the readers, listeners or viewers the information or entertainment that they are seeking, you are more likely to deliver an exceptional interview.

10. Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Make it easy on yourself by turning your phone ringer off, closing the door to your office, or doing anything you can do to be fully present and focused on the conversation or interview that is taking place.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert, and speaker. She trains clients around the world for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations, and promotional videos. With more than 25 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E!, and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.


If you enjoyed this article on 10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life, here are links to some other articles you might find interesting:

Body Language Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews and Meetings

Media Training Resources – This page contains links to communication studies and videos.

Media Interview Tips for Entertainers from a Los Angeles-Based Media Trainer and PR Expert


 

To arrange a free consultation, call us at 310-479-0217. Or, you can email us at [email protected]
How to Avoid Using Jargon in Media Interviews and Communications – Tips from a Media Trainer

How to Avoid Using Jargon in Media Interviews and Communications – Tips from a Media Trainer

There is a reason you may be seeing lots of articles about the overuse of jargon. It’s especially important to avoid using jargon in media interviews.

What would you think or feel if you heard this statement from a company spokesperson?

“We’re incentivizing our brand evangelists to virally spread our high-level content by gifting them with digital aviation rewards. It’s this outside-the-box thinking that yields us much more than the low-hanging fruit our competitors pull down, which is mission-critical given our current bandwidth.”

“Ummm…what?” might be your answer.

It would probably be clearer and easier to listen to this statement:

“We created a program that allows fans of our content to share it and earn airline points. It’s creative thought like this that’s helping us to grow more quickly than our competitors, which is especially important with our current staff and resources.”

Simple and clear language is usually the most effective way to communicate in almost any situation. It’s best to avoid using jargon in media interviews because your audience may consist of a variety of people with a range of knowledge. Generally, you will want your message to be well understood by the vast majority of people who will hear it or read it.

Jargon is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows:

“Jargon – (noun) – the language used for a particular activity or by a particular group of people.”

The use of jargon seems to be increasing, especially as the use of technology and Internet spreads. Some jargon is useful, but this is usually within the confines of people who work within a specific industry. Because jargon is often used with people of varying backgrounds, it is often misunderstood.

People may use jargon for several reasons:

• They don’t know how to explain something in simpler terms.

• They want to appear more eloquent or knowledgeable than they are.

• They are afraid that if they use more plain language people will assume they don’t know their industry’s jargon.

• Or, they are unaware that they are doing so.

In media interviews or presentations, before you use jargon, consider the knowledge base of your audience and their frame of reference. If you are accustomed to using a lot of jargon that is specific to your industry and you are addressing people outside of your industry, think about the alternate meanings your words may have to them.

What happens when people don’t understand your jargon:

• They may stop focusing on what you’re saying as their minds fixate on trying to figure out the meanings of the terms or words they didn’t understand.

• They may feel that your message is not meant for them, so they may tune you out.

• Or, they may feel that you’re trying to speak above their level, which may cause them to resent you.

How to know when to use jargon. Ask yourself:

• Is the jargon the best way to communicate your thought or to represent an object, concept or process?

• Who is your audience? Will your audience understand the jargon you are using? If not, would learning the meaning of the jargon help your audience members? If so, are you able to define the jargon for them?

Here are some ways to catch yourself using jargon, so you can curb it when needed:

• Set a digital recorder near you when you’re on the phone or meeting with people. Play it back and listen closely for the unnecessary or excessive use of jargon.

• Review your written correspondence to see how much jargon you’ve included. You could even keep a list of jargon that you don’t want to use and search your documents for the words or terms you want to omit.

How to know if you are using jargon:

• Are the words you are using NOT in the dictionary? If not, they may be jargon or they may be made up.

• Are many of the nouns you use actually verbs that have been modified to become nouns?

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert, and speaker. She trains clients around the world for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations, and promotional videos. With more than 25 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E!, and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

To arrange a free consultation, call us at 310-479-0217. Or, you can email us at [email protected]
I’m Just a… And Other Undermining Statements to Avoid – Communication Tips from a Media Trainer

I’m Just a… And Other Undermining Statements to Avoid – Communication Tips from a Media Trainer

Our word choices in interviews, speeches, presentations, and even casual conversations, say more about us than most people may realize. Many people undermine themselves without even knowing it.

Have you ever heard the owner of a small business say, “We’re just a small…” or an entrepreneur say, “I’m just a…”? The words “just a” immediately diminish their accomplishments.

I often hear stay-at-home mothers undermine themselves similarly, saying, “I’m just a mom.” This minimizes the importance of what they do. Instead they could say, “I’m a full-time mother,” and leave it at that. Or, they could say, “I’m taking time to focus on my family full-time right now,” which may feel more comfortable for women who plan to return to the workforce.

Other ways that people may undermine themselves is to talk about their perceived limitations as business people. People say things like, “I’m so disorganized,” or “I’m a mess,” or “I’m overwhelmed.” All of these statements make one appear out of control, incompetent and/or not very reliable.

Undermining statements like the ones above are a form of negative self-talk. In addition to diminishing your accomplishments, negative self-talk can take the form of putting yourself down or not accepting compliments.

Remember that everything you say to others, you are reinforcing in your own mind. Your brain cannot help but to hear those self-deprecating words and, more than likely, you will internalize them. Don’t say anything about yourself that you don’t want to be true.

Eliminating negative self-talk is important for anyone. It is not productive, it is disempowering, and it reinforces beliefs you don’t want to hold about yourself.

Get used to confidently stating what you do without diminishing or minimizing yourself or your accomplishments in any way.

If you’d like to become a more powerful communicator and make more conscious word choices, my Confident and Clear Communication program provides lessons in audio recordings you can listen to anywhere, anytime, as well as PDFs you can download or read online.

 

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert, and speaker. She trains clients around the world for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations, and promotional videos. With more than 25 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E!, and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

To arrange a free consultation, call us at 310-479-0217. Or, you can email us at [email protected]

What Are We Saving It For? A Media Trainer’s Thoughts on Committing to the Moment

Sometimes we “save it.”

I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about the way we sometimes hold back on giving our all or going all out, in our day-to-day interactions, rather than committing to the moment.

But, what if this is it?

Every moment could be our last. Not to be a downer, but that’s the reality of life. We are all mortal.

So, what are we saving it for?

For people who take the spotlight, we know when we need to amp ourselves up before we make a presentation or take the stage.

But, do we still hold back just a little?

Or, do we sometimes take for granted our ability to turn it on moments before we need to, when maybe we could have brought even more depth if we had put in the time, given it more thought, shared more personally and thought more universally?

Here’s an inspiration for you. Jim Carrey’s wonderful commencement speech is worth watching, if you haven’t seen it yet.

I love that even though Jim Carrey is one of the most successful actors of our time, and that he’s naturally quite eloquent, it’s clear that he spent a significant amount of time developing the content of his speech and rehearsing so that he could take the audience on a magnificent, enlivening journey. His passion and desire to inspire are palpable.

Since most of us won’t be invited to deliver commencement speeches, Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich wrote what she would like to say to a graduating class. Her inspiring, personal, and yet, widely resonant, words were put to music by Baz Luhrmann: the song, “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” was one of 1999’s biggest hits.

Listen to it here, courtesy of VH1.

This line from the song/speech hit me when I first heard it: “Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.” I’ve often felt that my two sisters and my brother have been among my greatest influences in life. (My husband is grateful that my brother helped me develop an appreciation for juvenile humor.)

Great works of art and speeches like these remind me that most of us can simultaneously elevate our speech, allow ourselves to share the depths of our thoughts, and relax and enjoy the lightness of life.

We don’t have to mimic others. Each of us has a unique style and voice.

You don’t have to be just like anyone, except yourself.

Let’s commit to not allowing things to get in the way of having extraordinary interactions every day.

No more halfhearted conversations while our minds wander to our “to do” lists.

No more spouting platitudes because we don’t want to dig a little deeper and fully commit to the moment.

No more “saving it.”

Let’s each of us commit to bringing our full and wise, insightful, delightful selves to every interaction!

What do you think?

Here are some links to other articles that you may find interesting:

Body Language Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication Tips from a Media Trainer

I’m Just a… And Other Undermining Statements to Avoid – Communication Tips from a Media Trainer

Glossary of Media Interview Terms – from Los Angeles Media Trainer Lisa Elia

Authenticity and Your Message – a Note from a Media Trainer

 

Authenticity and Your Message – a Note from a Media Trainer

Woman looking out window, on Expert Media Training™ blog post on authenticity, by Los Angeles Media Trainer Lisa EliaWhen I see women posting videos and announcing that they’re not wearing any make-up because they want to be authentic, I feel that is inauthentic. The presence or absence of cosmetics is not what determines the authenticity of one’s message; the truthfulness and honesty of the message is what makes it authentic.

Pretending you are not preparing yourself or your message is inauthentic. If you have the forethought to turn on your video camera and then post and share your video, is it really a spur-of-the-moment thought-share?

Isn’t it more authentic to present yourself the way you would present yourself for the public before you turn on your video camera?

Announcing that you are about to “be authentic” is also not necessary. Unless you are intimating that you are lying most of the time, shouldn’t we assume that you are being authentic and honest all of the time?

Preparing your message and yourself before you make any public statement, whether it’s a Facebook post, a YouTube video or a formal speech, does not make it, nor you, inauthentic. Preparation and the refinement of your message shows that you care about what you are communicating.

Authenticity is felt immediately. It doesn’t need to be announced.

Authenticity doesn’t need to be announced in media interviews or presentations either.

In media training sessions, we coach our clients to avoid saying, “honestly,” or “I’m going to be honest with you now,” because these words and phrases can beg the question, “Were you not being honest the rest of the time that you were speaking?”

People will trust you if you convey trustworthiness with your words and body language. You don’t need to ask them to trust you…unless you’ve betrayed their trust, in which case you would need more specific media training and strategy or crisis communication services.

You can follow everything you’ve learned in your media training or presentation training, and still communicate the messages that will lead you to your goals or address important issues.

Communicating with authenticity means letting go of pretense.

Los Angeles Media Trainer and Communication Expert Shares Body Language Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews and Meetings

The immediate feedback that you can receive with live media training is the best way to gain awareness of your body language, but the following tips will get you started.

Whether you’re meeting with a potential new client or a big decision maker who could change your life with a major deal, like an endorsement deal, a TV deal, or a book deal, paying attention to nonverbal communication (body language) can make or break the deal.

It is estimated that more than 90% of communication is nonverbal. People observe your nonverbal behaviors to determine whether you seem nervous, honest, confident, competent, and lots of other things.

Body Language in Interviews and Meetings - Nonverbal Communication - blog post by Los Angeles Media Trainer and PR Expert Lisa Elia

What’s your body saying?

Here are body language do’s and don’ts for meetings:

Body Language Don’ts in Meetings:

Don’t slouch, as doing so can make you appear sloppy, uninterested or lacking in confidence.

Don’t stand with most of your weight leaning to one side, as this can make you appear less confident and less steady.

Don’t tilt your head too much, as it makes you appear unsure.

Don’t look down while you’re listening, as many people do: this could make you appear disengaged.

Don’t cross your legs and your ankles simultaneously (as some very flexible people do), as it makes you appear insecure.

Don’t cross your arms in front of you, as this can make you appear defensive.

Don’t play with your jewelry or anything else.

Don’t fidget. Watch your feet: fidgety feet are often the strongest indicator of nervousness, and a good interviewer may pick up on this.

 

Body Language Do’s in Meetings:

Offer your hand for a firm handshake, at the beginning and end of a meeting. If the person you are meeting has his or her hands full, or if he or she doesn’t respond, simply lower your hand.

Sit and stand with straight, but not stiff, posture. Your ears should be aligned above your shoulders.

Make eye contact with the person you’re speaking to, but don’t stare. It’s natural to look away periodically for a second or two.

Smile when you say hello and goodbye, and when you are talking about your greatest achievements.

Nod slightly in agreement when the person you are meeting with is telling you about himself or herself or the company or project, and smile when appropriate. Your body language will show your enthusiasm for the opportunity, and this is one of the things that people want to see.

Pay attention to the person’s nonverbal behavior. For example, if the person you are meeting with begins to look away or look at his or her watch while you are speaking, finish what you are saying quickly.

Before you go into your interview, roll your shoulders back and forth, take a few calming breaths and stretch your neck and body. All of these things will help to relax you, keep you out of “fight or flight” mode, and reduce the tension that can cause the shoulders to hunch and the diaphragm to be compressed. By opening and relaxing the body, you should have a stronger, steadier voice, and you should feel and appear more confident.

If you tend to fidget, simply cross your ankles.

If you want to learn more about body language and to sharpen all of your communication skills, my Confident and Clear program could be just what you need. Click here for more information: https://expertmediatraining.com/confident-and-clear

If you want to learn about our media training and presentation training services, click here: https://expertmediatraining.com/services

 Contact us to arrange a consultation with Lisa.

Call us at 310-479-0217.

How to Commit to Your Word and Yourself – Advice from a Media Trainer and Communication Expert

Committing to Your Word and Yourself - blog post by Media Trainer and Communication Expert Lisa Elia

Much is said about committing to your word in business. It’s always been important and has become increasingly so in today’s transparent world.

While most of want to keep our word every day, we sometimes set ourselves up for failure by promising too much, too soon. When working with the media or clients, your word is everything!

Committing to your word:

If a new project or opportunity comes along, think about whether or not you really want to do it. If you don’t, you’ll have trouble sticking with it and honoring your commitments. If you don’t light up at the thought of taking on a project, let it go and leave room and time for the things that will. My experience in my PR firm has been that when we pass on what’s not right for us and refer those people to other PR firms, great new clients appear.

Once you’ve taken on a project, commit to it 100%. (Obvious, yes, but does it always happen?)

Anticipate that there may be some unforeseen delays when estimating delivery times on your projects so you can provide a realistic timeframe to your clients. This is especially true when you’re relying on others to deliver video footage, photos and other elements you might need when promoting yourself.

Things happen–natural disasters, power outages, flight delays. If you can’t keep your word to someone, explain why you can’t do so, preferably before they expect you to deliver on your promise. People are usually more understanding when they’re told what’s going on.

If you’re thinking that you just don’t feel like doing something you’ve committed to, consider this:

Would the other party be happy to change the commitment? Sometimes that person you’re supposed to meet for dinner is just as tired as you and is hoping you’ll cancel. Call and discuss it.

Why don’t you want to keep your commitment? Have you changed your goals? Are there other changes in your life that make it impossible to do so? Or, are you just taking the easy way out?

What happens if you don’t keep your commitment? Will you disappoint someone? Will you disappoint yourself?

How will you feel if you commit to something and really go for it full on? What if you do whatever it takes to meet your commitments to others and yourself? How powerful and confident would you feel then?

When you think about the commitments you make, and whether or not you keep them and how you honor them, remember that your word is really all you have. When people trust you because you’ve demonstrated that you keep your word, they will be more likely to give you money, business, referrals, friendship and love.

Your word is like spiritual currency. Spend it wisely.

Here are a few other useful links:

Does the Way You Talk About Yourself Help or Hinder You
https://expertmediatraining.com/the-way-you-talk-about-yourself/

Media Training Resources
https://expertmediatraining.com/media-training-resources/

Frequently Asked Questions about Media Training
https://expertmediatraining.com/faqs-about-media-training/

Learn about my recorded communication program at https://expertmediatraining.com/confident-and-clear

Acronyms and Abbreviations in Media Interviews and Speeches

The use of acronyms and abbreviations seems to have increased significantly over the past decade, primarily due to the growth of texting and the shrinking of sentences to fit within Twitter’s character limits.

Acronyms and AbbreviationsThe use of acronyms and abbreviations in media interviews or speeches can often create confusion, turn people off and, possibly, make you appear less eloquent than you are.

The difference between acronyms and abbreviations:

An acronym is pronounced like a word and is generally comprised of the first letter of each word in a phrase. Example: SWOT (which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats”).

An abbreviation consists of the first letter of each word in a phrase or name, but each letter is pronounced individually. Example: D.I.Y. (which stands for “do it yourself”).

Of course, the above acronym and abbreviation could each have other meanings, but these are among the most common meanings for them. This brings me to the first of my tips for using acronyms and abbreviations effectively in media interviews or speeches:

1. Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations that could easily be confused with more commonly known ones. For example, if my team and I referred to our company as “E.M.T.”, rather than Expert Media Training™, a large percentage of people would be confused because “E.M.T.” is commonly used to describe an “emergency medical technician”. The difference is vast: if there’s a speech emergency I can help you, but you probably don’t want me intubating you.

2. Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms that may not be known to the majority of your audience. If you are in a media interview or giving a speech that will last more than a few minutes, and you plan on using an abbreviation to refer to something with a long name, explain this the first time you mention the full name associated with the abbreviation. This should be practiced during your media training, so you become fluid with your delivery.

3. If you can create an acronym for a system you have created or something else you want people to remember, this can be very useful for marketing and for making you memorable. If you plan to use the acronym in a media interview or speech, explain what it means early on.

4. In broadcast interviews or speeches, don’t use abbreviations that contain more syllables than the words themselves. Example: using “G.W.P.” (5 syllables) instead of “gift with purchase” (4 syllables). You could probably get away with this in an article you author, but this kind of “marketing speak” rarely impresses people.

5. If, during an interview or speech, you use abbreviations that are replacements for slang expressions, like “LOL” or “OMG”, know that this will convey a certain image of you. If you use these facetiously, it will shape your image in a different way.

6. If you use too many acronyms or abbreviations throughout your interview or speech, people may think you spend too much time texting and not enough time working…unless you work in social media, perhaps.

7. Choose your acronyms and abbreviations as consciously as you would other words and phrases, and you should be fine. I was tempted to use a lot of acronyms here, but I didn’t want you to TIWAJ. (I’ll let your imagination work on what TIWAJ could mean.)

For more media training and presentation training tips provided by Media Trainer Lisa Elia, the founder of Expert Media Training™, visit https://expertmediatraining.com/blog

How to Communicate with Maturity, Tips from a Media Trainer and Communication Expert

Communicating with Maturity blog post by Media Trainer and Presentation Trainer Lisa EliaWe hear so much about authenticity and transparency and accountability. All of these are felt by others through our communication. What it really comes down to is maturity.

Communicating with maturity is very simple.

Here are some tips on how to communicate with maturity:

It includes taking responsibility for one’s actions and for the promises one makes, and communicating clearly when you cannot deliver on your promises due to extenuating circumstances.

Communicating with maturity is communicating with thoughtfulness and the knowledge that there are consequences that come when certain words are spoken.

Communicating with maturity results in fewer disagreements and less drama in life.

Communicating with maturity requires strength, clarity, and self-knowledge, and it is the most freeing way to communicate.

For additional communication tips, check out my Confident and Clear Communication program.

 

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