Media skills

Five verbal habits that irritate the hell out of your listeners

When it comes to communicating effectively in media interviews and at meetings we are often our worst enemies. A potentially cogent and powerful argument is undermined by pointless, repetitive and largely unconscious verbal habits that irritate the hell out of our listeners and work against impactful communication. Here are five of the worst offences:

Starting a live media interview with ‘thank you for having me’.

This is not the first time I have blogged about this cringeworthy response, but people continue to produce it so the point merits repetition.…

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Give me the headline, dammit!

As a media skills trainer, I find the most common fault in the people I work with is an inability to get straight to the point.

Asked a simple question in mock interviews, like ‘What’s special about your company?’ or ‘What are your plans for next year?’ they either:

  • meander around the main point and eventually hit it almost accidentally so that I don’t know when the big moment has arrived;
  • build up to the point so gradually from deep background that I have lost the plot completely by the time they’ve got there;
  • produce such a long list of key points that I have no way of knowing which matters most.
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