Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscar Acceptance Speech Competition

This weekend sees the 83rd annual Academy Award ceremony in Hollywood. Acceptance speeches will be tucked inside the tuxedos and evening bags of dozens of hopefuls. But what makes a great acceptance speech? Here's where you come in. Inspired by my friend Max Atkinson's "Defend a doomed dictator" speechwriting competition", I'm running an Oscar acceptance speech contest. Here are the rules:

1. Write an Oscar acceptance speech, for any category, in no more that 250 words

2. Email it to me ( by 6pm GMT on Sunday 28th February 2011

3. I will judge the most entertaining and appropriate entry

4. My decision is final (of course)

5. The winner receives a signed first edition of Ping! or Mediamasters

I will announce the winner, and show their entry, on Friday March 4th. Good luck.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Tribute to Clive Gott

Clive Gott, my friend and fellow professional speaker, has passed away suddenly at all too young an age. Clive was, even amongst professional speakers, a remarkable man.Here's a few words of tribute to Clive from Graham Davies, FPSA:

'Clive did not pass through life in shades of grey. In the same speech, he would take great delight in grabbing an audience by its throat, either inspiring and entertaining them or disturbing and upsetting them. Actually, it was usually all four at the same time. No-one slept while he was on stage.'

I agree completely. Clive was a great supporter of the Professional Speaking Association in the UK, as chapter leader and tireless worker. He spoke internationally, completed the Marathon Des Sables (134 miles across the Sahara), climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and had countless adventures, all of which he recounted with enthusiasm and lust for life.

I remember him as opinionated, enthusiastic and challenging - everything a great speaker should be. The world is a poorer place without him.

Clive's partner, Elaine, has requested that anyone who wants to honour and remember Clive should buy themselves a bunch of fresh flowers. A lovely idea.

Thank you Clive. May your inspiration live on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Media Coach Radio Show 18th Feb 2011

Hints and tips for media appearances, speaking and social media. This week; Calling all media companies; A debut album; A quiz champion computer; The wrong speech; One wedding and a speech; I’m going to sue!; Twitter and LinkedIn; An interview with Gail Emms. Music from Mick Wilson

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Prince's Speech (Memo to Prince Harry)

Your Royal Highness,

Allow me, as current head of the world's professional speakers, to offer a little guidance for your upcoming best man's speech on the occasion of your brother's wedding to Ms Middleton.

I know that you are no stranger to speaking in public, and that you do not suffer greatly from nerves. However, the occasion is a momentous one, and I'm sure that you will wish to deliver a speech that does it justice, as well as offering some light entertainment to the company gathered for the wedding buffet.

So here are some tips which may help.

1) Don't repeat jokes from a joke book or from a comedian you've seen on TV. Jokes should be left to professional stand-up comedians. Otherwise, there's a high chance of either failing to get a laugh, or of offending the audience, or both.

2) Funny stories work really well, and it's worth sitting down with a notebook (and whatever gives your creativity full rein, such as a small glass of ale) a few weeks before the ceremony, and thinking of incidents that have happened to your brother. Take a couple of stories and work on them so that you know them by heart, and ensure that they take no longer than two or three minutes each.

3) Remember that the humour needs to be appropriate. Probably best to test it out first with your father to be on the safe side.

4) Keep the speech down to around ten minutes. Short, witty and warm.

5) Wish the bride and groom well in their future careers, though speculation is not necessary here.

6) Just a little lemonade before you speak. Decorum at all times.

7) Remember to thank everyone for coming and offer a toast to the happy couple for their future success.

Lastly, I know it is often within the best man's remit, but I'm sure Pippa can look after the bridesmaids on her own.

Enjoy the day.

Your humble and obedient servant,

Alan Stevens, FPSA, PSAE, MCIPR, President, Global Speakers Federation

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What is Integrated PR?

Integrated PR is not about social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), nor about traditional media (TV, radio and print). It's about both. The important thing is to use as many different channels as possible to deliver your message. That's not to say that just using radio advertising, or a campaign on Twitter, is a bad thing. My contention is that you should use as many options as you can in a single campaign.I define integrated PR as A PR campaign which delivers a single core message, using both traditional and social media.

First, you need a message. The art of good PR is to be able to convey the right one, in the right way, at the right time, to the right audience. The essence of a message is always the precise detail we wish to impart.

So, how do you create this core message for your integrated PR campaign?

Here is a checklist of the most important elements:

Identify the Single Most Important Idea

People remember very little of what they see or hear. The most effective PR campaigns focus on the most important message that you wish to communicate, since that's what you want people to remember.

If you have several messages you want to deliver, save the less important ones for another time. One message that is remembered by your potential clients is worth dozens of half-remembered ones.

Keep it simple

Don't use jargon, or industry-specific terms. It's impossible to over-simplify a message, but easy to over-complicate one.

Make it Memorable

We are besieged with messages every day, through radio and TV, adverts, conversations and the like. Your job, when delivering your message on the media, is to make it something that people will remember. Think of words and phrases that are a little unusual, or conjure up an image. If your message is seen as a picture, even if you are on the radio, it will be much more memorable.

Make it Relevant

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential audience and think what they will find engaging, All you have to do then is to deliver what they want to see or hear.

Ask Yourself "So What?"

Imagine yourself hearing your own core message. If your immediate reaction is, "so what?" the message doesn't work. You need to be able to capture the value to your audience in whatever you say.

Be Sincere

If you want people to believe you, you have to be sincere. You have to really believe what you are saying. That is why it is very important for you, as a company spokesperson, to be involved in drafting the core message. It will be very difficult for you to recite words given to you by a PR person if you are not fully confident that they represent your opinion.

In summary then, your core message needs to be simple, relevant, memorable, beneficial and of course, true. How hard is that?