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Tweet tweet: round up of the week’s Twitter tips

October 28, 2011

Every day on Twitter, we post a PR tip. This can be about media interviews, media strategy, PR or video making – or indeed anything we feel may be useful and is media related. Here’s a round up of this week’s tips:

  1. If you are doing a broadcast interview at your office use a quiet room where the air con can be switched off
  2. Do not expect to see or hear a preview copy of an article or programme you have
    taken part in
  3. If a journalist makes a mistake in a report, you have the right for this to be
  4. If you provide confidential information to a journalist, you have a right to be
    protected as a ‘source’
  5. Before an interview w/ journalist, chat first to build a rapport including the interesting points you want to make

6 performers tricks to improve your presentation skills

October 24, 2011

Ron Aldridge is a successful theatre director, writer and actor who uses his experience on the stage to successful helping business people to become ‘complete’ performers, whether they are speaking in public, presenting, or selling — at conferences, in the workplace and in the boardroom.

Ron is a valued member of the Rough House team who runs a small number of public seminars and workshops each year, as well as coaching clients on a one-to-one basis and delivering in-house, company training. Here he let us into some of theatrical tricks of the trade which will help any presentation.

A huge part of my work as a Theatre Director is to ensure that the performers I work with attain appropriate levels of ‘inner-confidence’.

The skills, principles and disciplines used by the professional performer to move,  convince, inspire or entertain are all transferable – and have direct and powerful applications in the worlds of business, politics, education and organisations in general.

Like professional performers, it is essential that we are confident, energetic, empathetic, inspirational, credible and authentic.

Here are 6 tips to help you get started … And, when it comes to communication, always bear in mind that:

65% is non-verbal

20% is the way we say something

15% is the actual words we use

Of course it’s important to spend time deciding what you are going to say, but please always remember the other 85%!

1. Preparation is everything!  Most people rehearse until they get something right. Professionals rehearse until they can’t get it wrong. Performing is the reproducing of what’s been rehearsed.  You must know exactly why you’re standing up, what you are going to say, what you think and feel about what you are going to say, how you are going to say it, and what you want your audience to feel when you’ve finished.

2. Also determine your passionate purpose. What is it you are there to do …  inspire, excite, entertain, motivate, educate, inform or move us?  All this essential work is achieved through your preparation. You cannot be over-prepared, but you can easily be under-prepared.

3. Pace and timing.  Consider the issue of pace when rehearsing. Rehearse at the pace you wish to perform at – the most common fault is to talk too quickly, which can lead to confusion within your audience. Talking too slowly can also be a problem, your audience could lose interest – care must be taken. Pausing for too long is not helpful either.  Think of the pause as a musical interlude – timing is vital.  Pause for too long or too little, and you lose the rhythm, and also your connection’ with the audience.

4. Inflection.  To help maintain positivity when speaking in front of others, try to avoid using a falling or downward inflection. The falling inflection at the end of a sentence signifies finality, conclusion, ‘end of discussion’. It is important when speaking to keep channels of communication open at all times.  Even if you’re asking a question the listener should feel ‘involved’ in the process. Either go straight through the end of the line with an even stress, or use a rising inflection.  Either of these will subconsciously indicate to the listeners that you are ‘involving’ them.

5. Help to control pre-performance nerves by employing shallow breathing, not deep breathing.  Imagine that you are very gently blowing out an imaginary candle. This helps to calm you and ensures you start at a point of control.

6. To help with tone of voice, understand that tone is directly related to emotion – how you think and feel. As an exercise, create your own story starting with the words;  “You won’t believe what happened to me on the way to work this morning …” and your vocal tone will change as your emotions change. Speaking without emotion leads people to believe the delivery is monotone.

Ron is holding his next one-day Masterclass on Thursday 3rd November 2011 near Stratford upon Avon – and we’ve secure a very special Rough House price of £250 +VAT (for this event only). Please quote “Rough House” when calling or booking! Click here for more details.

Tweet tweet: round up of the week’s Twitter tips

October 21, 2011

Every day on Twitter, we post a PR tip. This can be about media interviews, media strategy, PR or video making – or indeed anything we feel may be useful and is media related. Here’s a round up of this week’s tips:


  1. Before a radio interview, listen to the output so you know the programmes & presenters
  2. In a radio interview, the presenter may seem distracted, but make sure you concentrate on the questions
  3. In a radio phone interview, use a landline as it has better sound quality than a mobile
  4. Taking part in a radio phone in will give you lots of air time to promote yourself
  5.  In a radio interview, take in cue cards with key facts and figures

15 top tips on handling questions during presentations

October 17, 2011

One of the services Rough House provides is presentation training and last week I attended a session run by one of presentation trainers, Sue Carruthers.

One of the areas she covered was how to handle questions and it struck me that the techniques for dealing with them are remarkably similar during presentations and in media interviews.

Among Sue’s key pieces of advice  – which also apply to media interviews – was:

1.  Prepare very carefully

Anticipate the questions which will crop up and think in advance about how you might respond

2.  Be ready for a ‘googly’

Be up to date on current issues in your area of expertise – including those in the news that day – as questions might be asked about anything remotely related to it

3.  Give yourself thinking time

Use techniques such as repeating the question & and asking the questioner to clarify what they mean to give yourself thinking time before answering

4. Use bridging phrases

Have a stock of handy phrases you can use to move from uncomfortable questions to ones which you are happy to answer and which deliver your key messages (eg: that’s a very interesting question, but the most important thing is ….)

5. Offer opinion not fact

If you are asked questions which require a factual answer which you can’t give, offer an opinion instead to avoid admitting you don’t know – but be sure to flag it up as such

6. Be truthful

Never make something up, guess, or speculate

7. Admit you don’t know

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know an answer – unless of course it will make you look stupid or incompetent. If that’s the case, resort to
number 5

8. Be yourself


Some of her other tips included:

  1. Plan when you will take questions – throughout the presentation, in the middle or at the end, and tell the audience, so they can be prepared
  2. Keep control – if several people ask you a question at once, then ask them to repeat them one at a time
  3. Repeat the question so that everyone in the room can hear it
  4. If a question is rambling, summarise it and break it down into components if it’s a multiple question
  5. Involve the audience or another presenter – ask them what they think the answer to a question might be
  6. Limit the number of questions – be ready to say: ‘we’ve just got time for one more question’
  7. If someone persists in answering questions and monopolises time, offer to speak to them afterwards

If you have any other tips for handling questions during presentations, then we’d love to hear them.

Tweet tweet: round up of the week’s Twitter tips

October 14, 2011

Every day on Twitter, we post a PR tip. This can be about media interviews, media strategy, PR or video making – or indeed anything we feel may be useful and is media related. Here’s a round up of this week’s tips:


  1. In a media interview, a leading question is one that invites you to make a judgement
  2. An open question is one which starts who, what, where, when or why
  3. A closed question is one which requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer
  4. In an interview, beware hypothetical questions such as ‘would you resign if …’
  5. If you’re asked a question with many parts in an interview, just answer the one you like best

A journalists guide to media strategy

October 9, 2011

There’s a basic set of questions that every journalist can recite, and which every journalist bases all there interviews on: who, what, where, when and why.  Plus, often, a supplementary ‘how’.

And it’s not a bad set of questions to contemplate when you’re developing a media strategy. And by that I mean a strategy to boost the number of column of inches written about your business, and the amount of air-time you secure – basically how to raise your profile with the media and in the media.

WHO:  is your target audience? Other businesses, stakeholders, politicians and decision makers, mothers, fathers, young people?

WHAT: type of stories can you develop about your business that would be of interest to the media – and your target audience

WHEN: is the best time to release your chosen news and stories (stories about a new range of summer dresses won’t have much mileage at this time of year)

WHERE: do your target audience absorb their media? The internet, newspapers (which ones?), specialist magazines, television (which programmes?), radio (which station?)

WHY: do you want to obtain media coverage? For your company’s greater glory? To inform clients about your products? To position yourself as an expert?

And of course:

HOW: are you going to achieve this? How much time do you have to commit to it?  

At Rough House, we’re happy to guide you through this whole process, helping you to answer all these questions and do the fun part – getting your creative juices flowing and coming up with some cracking stories about you and your business that any editor would be a fool to reject. Contact us about this and our other media consultancy services on 020 8332 6200 or




Tweet tweet: round up of the week’s Twitter tips

October 7, 2011

Every day on Twitter, we post a PR tip. This can be about media interviews, media strategy, PR or video making – or indeed anything we feel may be useful and is media related. Here’s a round up of this week’s tips:

  1. Before a media interview the reporter should tell you the first question
  2. Before a live broadcast interview, find out if others are being interviewed at the same time
  3. If you are doing a live interview, watch or listen to the pre-recorded news items that precedes it
  4. Many journalists have little time to prepare for interviews, so you generally will  know  more than them
  5. Bombarding the media with too many press releases will ensure they are all deleted – even those with good stories
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