How to Handle Questions about Politics and Society – Media Training Tips for Actors and Music Artists

How to Handle Questions about Politics and Society – Media Training Tips for Actors and Music Artists

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.

Whatever choice is made about sharing thoughts on any sensitive topic, giving forethought to the choice and its potential consequences and effects on the talent’s brand, fan base and position in the entertainment industry will help the talent and his/her team to feel prepared for media interviews. This same consideration should be given to social media posting.

When providing media training for actors and music artists some of the questions we address with the client are these:

  • Are there potential benefits to the talent sharing opinions on this topic? If so, do the benefits outweigh the potential negative fallout of the talent discussing this topic?
  • How much does the talent want to continue discussing this topic in this interview and future interviews?
  • Can the talent handle more probing and pointed questions about the topic and his/her authority on it?
  • Does this topic tie into any of the talent’s projects or philanthropic endeavors?
  • Could the talent alienate a segment of his/her core audience or fan base by sharing opinions on this topic? If so, is it still worthwhile to share his/her opinions?

Once these questions are answered, we move forward with helping the client to communicate the messages he/she wants to share.

Preparing for questions about sensitive topics prior to media interviews is the best way to create a communication strategy that positions talent well and to protect talent him/her from saying something regrettable, becoming rattled, or derailing a media interview.

To learn more about our media training for actors, music artists or other public figures, call us at 310-479-0217 or email [email protected]

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Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, and Communication Expert, and Founder of Expert Media TrainingThis 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, panels, 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. Clients include entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between as well as athletes, celebrities, and other public figures.

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?

Instead of using jargon, aim for clearer, simpler language. It will help you to be better understood and received by your audience.

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, and Communication Expert, and Founder of Expert Media TrainingThis 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, panels, 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. Clients include entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between as well as athletes, celebrities, and other public figures.

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

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

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

 

Media training is meant to help anyone who is going to be interviewed by the media to feel as prepared as possible.

Understanding the lingo that you may encounter before or during interviews will help you to feel more at ease.

 

This glossary of media interview terms will get you started.

a-roll – This is the footage shot by the primary camera, in shoots with more than one camera.

attribution – Attributing the source of information to its originator. If you provide information or quotes that are not your own, be sure to mention the source. If you do not, you risk being accused of plagiarism, which is illegal and damaging to your reputation.

b-roll – This is background footage that is generally shown to accompany voice-over provided by a news reporter or the audio of an interview. Sometimes TV news crews will shoot b-roll, and sometimes the producer will ask interviewees or their PR representatives to supply b-roll. It is beneficial to have b-roll available if you have something that could add visual interest to a news story, such as footage of your product being manufactured, or a tour of your facility. For people in the entertainment industry, interviewers might expect you to bring clips of films or TV shows that are being promoted: the studios will generally provide these.

boom (microphone) – This is the large microphone that is generally at the end of a boom pole and held near the action, to capture sound.

Chyron (pronounced ˈkīrän) – The graphics or words that appear at the bottom of a TV screen. The Chyron Corporation created the on-air graphics that became popular, and subsequently, the name “Chyron” has become used generically. In some countries, this is referred to as a “name super” or “cap gen” or “CG”.

crawl – This is the text that “crawls” along the bottom of a TV screen during an interview or news segment. Sometimes this text is unrelated to what is on screen.

lapel mic/lavalier mic/personal mic – For many TV interviews, a lapel mic or lavalier mic will be clipped onto your clothing, with the “mic pack” clipped to your clothing, somewhere where it will not be seen, such as the back of your belt, or even inside a dress or shirt. Consider this when choosing your clothing for an interview.

mic pack – This is the electronic pack that transfers the signal from a lapel mic to the camera or soundboard.

off the record –I advise clients not to say anything that you do not want to see in the news. With social media acting as an amplifier of any message, this is a good rule to follow in most areas of your life (except to your very inner circle).

press kit – Those of you who are reading this who work with publicists or an in-house PR team probably already have had a professional press kit developed for you. This phrase is included in this glossary because many people casually interchange “press kit” and “sales kit,” but they are not the same things. When members of the media request your press kit, they do not want your sales materials. They want to see your factual press kit materials. A press kit generally includes the background information that members of the media may need to produce articles or stories on you, including a biography, a company backgrounder, information on your products and services, key press clips, and references to relevant facts and studies.

remote (interview) – A remote interview is when the interviewer is in a different location than the interviewee. Remote interviews can occur via Skype or other videoconferencing software applications and systems, or you may be asked to go to a studio to shoot a remote interview with an interviewer that is located elsewhere. Or, a remote interview may be shot at some other location. This is sometimes called a “live shot”.

still (photograph) – Stills are simply photographs, as in “still images”, as opposed to “moving images”. Print media outlets will often ask for still photographs that can support the story being written, but radio and TV producers might also ask for stills to be used in producing their stories. Radio stations now have active and very visually appealing websites, so good visuals are now necessary to support some radio interviews as well as print and TV interviews.

talking points From the perspective of many members of the media, the talking points that they may ask you or your representatives to send to them are discussion points or topics that you will discuss in a media interview. You might also have a separate list of talking points that are the discussion points you want to incorporate into your answers.

Media training entails much more than understanding media interview terms.

To excel in media interviews, you must be prepared on many levels that go far beyond media interview terms. Good media training should address the strategy behind the interviews, and prepare you physically, mentally and emotionally.

For more media training tips, visit these links on our site:

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

Media Training Tips for Actors, Music Artists and Performers
https://expertmediatraining.com/media-training-for-actors-music-artists-and-performers-media-interview-tips/

Media Interview Checklist from a Los Angeles Media Trainer
https://expertmediatraining.com/media-interview-checklist-from-a-media-trainer/

Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication
https://expertmediatraining.com/body-language-in-interviews-and-meetings/

How to Create an Online Press Room That the Media Will Love
https://expertmediatraining.com/online-press-room-tips-from-media-trainer/

Prepare for TV Interviews BEFORE You Book One – Tips from an LA Media Trainer and Spokesperson
https://expertmediatraining.com/prepare-for-tv-interviews-media-trainer-tips/

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, and Communication Expert, and Founder of Expert Media TrainingThis 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, panels, 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. Clients include entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between as well as athletes, celebrities, and other public figures.

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

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