Performance Coaching for Television News & Sports Talent
“What’s the secret to connecting with an audience?”
When Harvard Business Review put this question to Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame), his answer was as profound and applicable to delivering the news as it is to doing his Vegas magic act.
Here’s a part of what he said:
If someone is talking about their passion — whether it’s horizontal oil drilling, Spanish nurse porn, or stamp collecting — I get sucked in.
People say, “How can I make this particular idea play?” But if they’re phrasing it that way, they haven’t got a chance. It has to be “I have something I desperately want to say. How do I say it?” Then it comes down to mechanics: Are your sentences clear? Are you making eye contact?
One teacher, one time, told me a valuable thing: “No one cares about what you say. They’re looking for an excuse not to listen. So make sure they don’t have one.” And boy, that applies to everything. When you go out on stage, you’ve got two minutes to get the audience thinking “This is important” or “This is grabbing my heart.”
Penn’s advice goes right at the difference between extraordinary talent and merely competent ones. Competent talent may generally know the story and be able to read it accurately, with good energy and even some personality. It’s often easy to admire their professionalism and polish.
It’s also easy to ignore or forget what they have to say. They’re like the young artist who it’s said once played a very difficult piece for the Russian maestro, Vladimir Horowitz. “Young man,” Horowitz commented, “you played every note perfectly. Now when are you going play the music?”
Knowing a story and reading it perfectly is not connecting, any more than knowing the notes is playing the music. That thing that separates extraordinary talent from others is not how well they know the story but how much they need to tell the story. They connect when others don’t because they’re concerned with something more than the facts themselves. They’re concerned with what’s important about those facts. They know what grabs at the heart.
And so, as Penn might say, they have something they desperately need viewers to see and understand. And it’s the need that makes their delivery somehow different and sets them apart.
You can read the full interview with Penn here.
Barry has been coaching television news and sports talent at all levels since 1982. Every night around the world, millions of people get their news from anchors and reporters he has trained and consulted.
Tony is an award-winning journalist and a master coach. In addition to his extensive work with news and sports talent, he leads our work with Spanish-language newscasts and coaches MMJs.
Barrett is a performance coach and visual image specialist, She is an especially good resource when improving the look of your team is a priority.
Jonathan is a veteran newsroom manager and coach. He understands how much performance depends on the people who support it, and he works as effectively with producers and writers as he does with talent.
Jenni specializes in the development and care of the speaking voice. Contact her especially when you have concerns or questions about the way your talent sound and read.
Patty is our long-time office manager. When you have an administrative question for us, she'll have an answer.
When you have an immediate need, we can respond faster than ever. When your resources are limited, we can work with your team without incurring travel expense. And if we are visiting your station regularly, we can followup more powerfully than ever before.
All you need on your end is a computer with high-speed internet access and a camera. We take care of the rest.
All of our services are also available of Spanish-language news and sports talent and for the news and sportscasts that they serve. Contact Barry Nash or our Spanish- language coach, Tony Martinez, for more information.
We are a team of coaches who specialize in the training and development of television news, weather and sports talent.
In all cases, our goal is to provide the resources talent need to achieve "Breakthrough Performance" -- delivery that engages the minds and hearts of viewers, demands their attention, and inspires their loyalty.
When performance feedback is a priority on your end, we make it one on ours. Do send us an email, we'll take a look and come back to you confidentially without obligation.
Address : 2410 Farrington Street
Dallas, Texas 75207