Writing & Media Coach

718-230-4250  ~ dkirbynyc@gmail.com

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Media Training

  As a journalist, author, former public relations executive and professional speaker, I am extremely familiar with the inner workings of the global media and public speaking fields. I have coached individuals and small groups from many professions, helping them craft, sculpt and refine their messages and deliver them with finesse and authority - whether to an audience of ten or 10 million.

I was personally trained by one of the best media coaches in the business, who taught me many of the skills I now have. One of my key clients has been the United Nations, where I have worked with the UN Development Programme and with UNESCO, coaching international teams of public affairs officers to select and bring to life the key messages of some admittedly dry UN documents. I also trained public affairs staff at Measure of America prior to the release of their 2009 Report, the first-ever human development report for a developed nation.

I offer intensive one-, two- and three-day workshops tailor-made for each client and specializing in taking dense, complex, sensitive or controversial material and making it understandable and meaningful to the average radio, television or live-venue audience member.

The training is tough but reasonable. I walk clients through every challenge of live, recorded and in-person appearances. I push them and grill them and videotape their progress. I also give them video copies of their performances, with written critiques – including suggestions on what still needs practice. The professional skills and knowledge they gain will stay with them for life.

Among the highlights of my workshops:

Media 101 – You need to think like a reporter before you talk to one. Learn the rules of engagement; your “rights” as a guest; how to interview the interviewer; what the media is looking for and what makes them cringe; an insider’s view on how the business really operates, and why 30 seconds is an eternity on TV.

Strategy – Selecting your thesis and overarching message, amassing ammunition to make your points and beginning to formulate the theme and tone of your words to suit your target audience.

Focus – Selecting four main concepts to illustrate and support your thesis and overarching message; packing each idea with highly valuable information for maximum impact on delivery.

Talking Points - Boiling down the four concepts down into distinct, taut points that are easily remembered; memorizing and organizing your points into a propulsive, cohesive “story.”

Soundbites – Turning your points into short, concise, all-important soundbites, to greatly improve your chances of making it into news articles and broadcast stories, and to be readily understood during live interviews.

Presentation – How to speak; how to stay calm; how to focus; what to wear; how to address your interviewer or audience; top ten things to do in the last 30 minutes before you go on.

Deflection – How to not answer a question without appearing not to answer it; how to give the answer you want to give, without looking like you are deflecting the question.

Stand Ups/Sit Downs – Real-time, on-camera  training and practice of live interviews: standing up, sitting in a studio, speaking remotely via satellite; how to speak onstage before a live audience and keep them engaged; real-world tips on posture, eye contact, drinking water (think Sen. Rubio) and cutting someone off gracefully.

Pitfalls – Avoiding the top mistakes that amateurs make and their devastating consequences; what to do when you don’t understand the question or can’t answer it; how not to fidget, chair-swirl or look away from the camera.

Hostile Interviews and Crisis Management – How to disarm an aggressive journalist or angry audience member; using humor and humility to great benefit; getting the bad news out of the way first to finish off with good news; coming under fire without losing your cool.

Please contact me about rates and special packages for groups and
multi-day workshops. Travel expenses are billed separately.

July 2012: Death at SeaWorld Event San Francisco   October 2012: Orlando                    October 2012: Atlanta            
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