Prepping for the Big Day-of-IPO with Elastic

It was a real treat to media train Shay Banon, the CEO of Elastic, for the company's recent IPO. His commitment to being authentic and sharing his gratitude with employees and 100s of thousands of developers was refreshing. While I can't take credit for the company's wildly successful trading on Day 1, I can share a few tips that will help you shine in your next high-stakes interview:

1. Prepare. Be ready for the expected and the unexpected. Cast a wide net on all of the good things and bad things that might happen. Build out a beefy Q&A. Pro tip: Human nature is to focus on the "tough Qs." Don't forget to practice responses to "positive softball" Qs that allow you to shine.

2. Practice your delivery. When you are crystal clear on the intended impact you wish to have (i.e. what do you want your audience to think, feel, or do), only then should you begin to refine your delivery. Commit to practicing in front of a mirror and a focus on what your audience needs to hear.

3. Be crisp. We prepped Shay for the tightest broadcast format, Jon Fortt of CNBC. Once he nailed that he was ready for longer form programs and anything that came his way.

A Day in the Life of a Media Coach/Spokesperson...

As a Media Coach, I would never recommend clients rush, shower, and prep for a broadcast interview in less than 40 minutes. But sometimes spokespeople don’t have a choice.

I should know. I did just that on Monday.

I was called in by the ABC affiliate in San Francisco to provide context on the correlation of domestic violence and guns in light of the Texas church mass shooting. Given I've done PR/Media Coaching for 20+ years and this is a topic I'm well versed in, I decided to go for it.

When you have a few minutes to prep for an interview, what do you do?

1. Envision your dream headline: Broadcast, print, podcast, whatever. The “headline” is the hook. Mine was, "Data shows an undeniable correlation between domestic violence abusers and mass shootings."

2. Create and deliver a few quotable quotes that support your headline:

-54% of mass shooters have a history of domestic violence abuse.

 -Guns and domestic violence are a deadline combination. 

3. Strong close - What do you want your audience to feel, think or do?

-Congress has passed no Federal laws since Sandy Hook. We need our elected officials to reject The NRA's deadly mission and protect American lives.

That's what I did during my lunch hour, what about you?

*Interview at 1:20

What Melissa McCarthy (as Sean Spicer) Can Teach You About Media Coaching

For this week's blog, there was no doubt in my mind that SNL skit with Melissa McCarthy, appearing as Press Secretary Sean Spicer, was a perfect -- and hilarious -- segue into some bigger lessons. 

While the tables are turned here - On SNL the press secretary is grilling reporters, while this piece is geared towards spokespeople responding to reporter's questions, the key takeaways for media spokespeople are the same:

1. Stay Calm: While you may face a "gotcha question" or feel ruffled inside, it's important that they never see you sweat (figuratively, and in the case of Zuckerberg, literally). 

2. Stay on Message: Write down key points (3 max) and deliver them clearly and concisely (via quotable quotes). Be sure to answer the reporter's questions in a manner that will build a positive long-term relationship, using stats and annecdotes to support your narrative. 

3. Stand firm on Accuracy: Don’t allow yourself to be paraphrased inaccurately. If a reporter says: “So in other words…” followed by something that doesn't align with your statement, your response should be “No, that’s not right. What I said was…” or “No. Think of it this way…”