Performance Coaching for Television News & Sports Talent
I’ll never forget one of the times I heard a researcher talk about that thing that separates great talent from good ones. Dallas Cronk, a visionary researcher for Audience Research & Development, was ticking through the list of things that she knew influenced viewer approval: visual image, body language, sound of the voice, teamwork, and community
involvement. Then she pointed out that there was this one thing with the power to trump them all but she could n’t even name it, much less measure it. She called it “the X factor.” All I can really tell you,” she said, “is that some people have it and some people don’t. If we could figure out how to coach that, the world would beat a path to our door.”
Well, times are changing. Previously, we wrote about “honest signals,” the newly measurable qualities that scientists are finding have particular power to capture and hold other’s attention. The research was summarized in How to Light Up A Room: Measuring Charisma and Confidence, an article in Oprah Magazine. If you’re concerned about lighting up the television screen, it’s a must-read.
Basically, whether you have “it” or whether you don’t boils down to how effectively you perform in three critical areas:
Expressiveness. Whether you move or not — and how you move when you do — announces your level of interest in the conversation and in the people who’re sharing it with you. This is harder on television that it is in person, because the other person “in” the conversation with you is unseen. And when you can’t see who you are talking to, expressiveness reflexively diminishes. Not good.
Control. This is your ability to control — and thus adapt — your performance to the people and to the things that are happening around you. It’s why it’s critical to be present to the experience your viewers are having on a moment-to-moment basis. If something begs for a reaction or an adjustment and you don’t make it, viewers notice.
Sensitivity. This is huge, because it’s the measure of your ability to show how well you understand others. On a newscast, the “others” are your colleagues, your guests, and most important of all, the viewers themselves. Dallas Cronk knew the X factor was high when viewers would say something like, “All I can tell you is that she seems to be talking directly to me.” Again, because a news audience is invisible and you can’t see how they are reacting, this is a function of your ability to imagine yourself into the conversation with them. It is, of course, much harder than it sounds and may be the critical key to great newscast performance.
Two of local television’s master communicators in all of these areas are Monica Kaufman-Pearson and recently retired John Pruitt of WSB-TV in Atlanta. Here is Pruitt narrating a tribute congratulating his co-anchor on 35 years on-the-air. Notice the look on his face and in his eyes (Expressiveness and Sensitivity) as he reads the lead, and notice the ease and graciousness in her response at the end (Expressiveness and Control).
Here’s the really good news: It’s not so much that some have “it” and others don’t. Some just naturally seem to know a lot more than others about how to make the most of it. And now there is good research to clue the rest of us in!
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