November 21, 2014

We’re all just sittin’ around the campfire, really

PR training helps our clients communicate clearly and  effectively.

PR training helps our clients communicate clearly and effectively.

I’m a PR professional. But my real job is storyteller. I use press releases, feature articles, social media and grassroots outreach to get our clients’ messages across. But sometimes, the client needs to be the storyteller.

The AB&C PR team offers a variety of training modules to help our clients communicate clearly and effectively. Maybe you need some help with a stressful situation, such as giving a speech in public or having to be interviewed by the media. Don’t sweat it. Yours truly, a PR pro, is here to help.

Public speaking

People fear public speaking more than death — understandably so. It’s not easy, and many of us don’t do it regularly. But, sometimes it’s a necessary part of the job.

Be prepared. Know your audience, your purpose and your setting. Practice your speech several times so you can get a good sense of timing. Practice in front of a mirror, paying attention to your facial expressions and movements. Are they appropriate and natural? Record yourself so you can hear how your speech sounds. Public speaking is a learned skill — and like any skill it requires regular practice.

Media interviews

Is your organization in some hot water? Or maybe you’re undergoing a major expansion or launching a new product and you need to tell the media all about it. All good, right? Except that media interviews aren’t exactly in your job description. They can be daunting — but they don’t have to be.

The better you understand how the media operates, the better your chance of becoming a credible, knowledgeable and comfortable interviewee. As with public speaking, you need to be prepared. Become familiar with the types of stories the publication or website covers and its audience. After you do your research, determine the key messages you want to communicate in your interview.

Some basic tips might include:

  1. If you don’t want to read it, hear it or see it — don’t say it.
  2. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess.
  3. Don’t say “no comment” — it sounds negative and makes it appear as if you’re hiding something.
  4. Use simple language and avoid jargon.
  5. Be as accurate, honest and transparent as possible.

Industry events

What if you set up a table at an industry event and no one stopped by? Use these tactics to engage event attendees at your booth or table.

Social media

Use your social media channels to promote the events your organization will be attending. Is the event organizer on Facebook or Twitter? If so, mention them in your post. They’ll get notified, and hopefully they’ll share your post with their followers.

Post photos from the events you attend. Snap shots of your table setup, the crowd and attendees interacting with your staff. Always ask attendees if it’s OK to share their photos on social media. Post one or two photos on Twitter or Facebook while you’re at an event, and the rest the next day in a Facebook album with the title of the event and a brief description.

At the event

Show up early and give yourself plenty of time to set up and scope out the facilities. Stand up at your table as much as possible. Say hello to every person who walks by your table. But, be aware that not everyone will be interested in your product, so be ready to shift your attention to the next visitor. Never leave the table unattended — take a break if you need to make a call or eat something, but make sure someone is covering for you. If you seem distracted, no one will stop by your table.

To get a message across to an audience, you have to tell a story. That requires some skills to ensure successful communication. I’m a PR pro. I can help.