You may have read about a Harvard University study that was published a year or so ago, which stated that sarcasm can increase your creativity. As references to this article continue to be passed around by bloggers and others, people are often forgetting to include the caveats about trust in the relationship and understanding when sarcasm is appropriate (i.e., sarcasm is not always great at work), which were included in Harvard’s article on the study.
Like most forms of humor, sarcasm is better received when you’re not insulting individuals, but rather making fun of circumstances or human nature. This is true in one-on-one conversations as well as in speeches and media interviews. It’s better to save sarcasm for the people in your life who know you best and will know when you are joking.
Sometimes a TV producer or editor from a media outlet contact experts in the hopes that the experts will share exactly the opinion they want in order to shape their story. If you’re an expert, it’s important that you maintain your integrity and only say what you truly believe. Otherwise, you simply become a mouthpiece for others, and a few minutes on TV isn’t worth compromising your integrity.
Know your boundaries and maintain them.
When delivering a speech, presentation or media interview, speaking from the heart is important, but your message must also make sense logically. There are times when a very passionate speaker can draw people in by affecting the audience emotionally, but if upon further reflection the argument or position presented by the speaker doesn’t hold up intellectually, the message loses its potency and the credibility of the speaker is called into question.
The best messages resonate with the heart and the head.
1. Know what drives your audience at any given time; pain avoidance or aspiration.
Some people are more motivated to avoid pain, thus the “speak to their pain points” advice that has proliferated on the Internet for the past decade. Others are more motivated by their aspirations or ideals. Most people’s motivations can vacillate between pain avoidance and aspiration, depending on the matter at hand.
There are many old adages about the topics to avoid in polite company – politics, religion and race being among them. These rules of etiquette have slipped away in most of society and they don’t necessarily apply to media interviews, especially when it comes to public figures.
Once people achieve celebrity status, it is not unusual for members of the media to ask them questions about their opinions on a wide variety of topics that extend far beyond their art or craft. For example, actors who star in TV shows or movies that center around politics or social issues are especially apt to find themselves facing questions pertaining to the topics addressed by their work. Members of the media may ask actors, music artists and others in the entertainment industry questions about the status of gender issues, race relations, or the state of the entertainment industry. Some artists feel comfortable answering such questions, either because they have gained the knowledge to feel prepared to do so or because they simply want to share their opinions. Others prefer to keep their opinions on such topics to themselves.
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.
Media training is meant to help anyone who is going to be interviewed by the media to feel as prepared as possible.