Doing a sports media interview, giving a presentation or using social media, can make or break your reputation. What you say and how you present yourself shapes not only your personal brand, but that of your team, players and coaches as well. Remember anything you say or do, reflects on them, too.
Tim Tebow has had success with developing the Tim Teebow Brand. He comes off as sincere, positive, even charming. You can like him or hate him, but you're going to be clear about who he is and what he stands. That's why it's critically important that you take the time to prepare yourself and your messages before you put them out.
In any serious media training session, you'll spend time up front making sure you have solid messages. Everything else comes second.
Your Game Plan
You wouldn't think of playing your sport without a game plan and training. Why would you do anything less when you are trying to win the reputation game? Part of your game plan for sports media interviews has to include putting together key messages that are going to get used by the media and connect with your audience.
Today, I want to focus on a few of the keys to producing messages that will break through all the clutter and help you build your reputation and your personal brand.
Think about it. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the activity and information in your life? You're not alone. Research indicates that people feel they have reached, or surpassed, their information threshold. One recent study said that the average American receives up to 3,000 messages every day from sources including texts, social media like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, e-mail, ads, meetings and more.
The result is that we all have incredibly short attention spans. This is a reality we have to face as we communicate with our most important audiences. To be effective in this environment, your messages must be:
Audience-focused: The single most important factor is that you are relevant to your audience. The fact is that when someone tries to get our attention, we all ask the same question: "what does this mean to me?" Or, put another way, "who cares?" Ask that question yourself, from your audience's point of view, when developing your messages. Don't Tweet that you're having tacos for lunch, talk about how you're getting ready for your next match, what fans mean to you. Give them something to care about. Watch any Sports Center edition on ESPN and think about how they make it relevant to viewers. It's the same thing you want to do when creating your messages.
Positive, powerful language: Too often coaches and players will undermine their own messages by using passive and/or negative language. Your messages should use positive language to show your confidence. Not "we think have a good chance to beat them," but instead "we're confident that our planning and preparation will pay off with a win."
Cliche Free: You should adopt a zero-tolerance policy on clichés. When people hear you say the same old, same old from your sport, they instantly turn off. They just hear "blah, blah, blah." You know the phrases I mean. Think of one you've heard, or said, recently and vow never to say it again.
Be Interesting: If you're going to break through the clutter, you'll need to be interesting. Find a unique turn of phrase, an analogy, an example to bring life to your messages. People will remember you and what you said, and pass it on through social media and conversation. Think about Shaquill O'Neal and his media interviews and Tweets. Shaq even uses a social media coach to keep his stuff interesting.
Be Brief: Keep your messages short and simple, so people get it. There is much more to producing and delivering powerful key messages, which is what we teach in our training sessions. But since I know your attention is wandering at this point, now have my key messages.
Get out there, and win the reputation game.