Client Story: Group Media Training at an Entertainment Company
Recently we spent two days training members of a high-profile online fashion media team. The mission was to polish the skills of a group of 11 team members responsible for producing most of the content. The two-day training included on-camera work and red carpet interviewing, voice-over tracking for video packages, and representing the brand in media appearances.
We started with voice work. Many in the group, especially the younger women, needed better chops —breathing, projection, diction, emphasis, rhythm. We directed the team through copy, identifying individual weaknesses and fixing them. One person needed help with breathing and diction, another with pacing, another with what words to emphasize. Working in the same room allowed everybody to learn from each other.
The group was mixed in experience. Those with little experience tended to be tight, so we used an exercise that required them to read the copy as if they were drunk. The exercise is designed to help them stop trying to perform perfectly and loosen up, be playful. You can’t find the right value for the words unless you explore. It’s an acting technique that really works for voice-over because the take right after the silly drunk one is usually so much more authentic and conversational.
We also used an opposite exercise of softly whispering for someone who needed to not project. This enabled her to soften the volume and add more breath so the voice quality became warmer, lower, more intimate, and less nasal.
Next we explored on-camera interviewing. Many of the editors regularly host interviews with well known fashion designers and experts. In reviewing the video content there was a tendency to speak quickly, to swallow words, to giggle or show inexperience through their body language. We focused here on nerves, prep, facial expression and voice projection. You’re on camera so you need to learn facial expressions, such as getting a feel for how much is too much and whether your eyebrows are out of control? As we trained the team on interviewing techniques they became more relaxed and confident, more at ease with their guest and more focused on asking short, open-ended questions.
There are specific challenges to talking to stars on the red carpet on camera. The environment is loud but you can’t just yell. How do you relax before it all begins? Prep is essential to pulling off a live event with confidence — know your subjects and have scripted short questions that elicit good responses.
We also discovered hidden talents and creativity in several people. One gal really shined when she talked about the company. Another stood out as having a gift as a trend spotter and an ability to communicate her process. We were able to address all levels at once, polishing up the pros, while giving the junior people the skill sets they need to move forward.
Plus we had a blast. We jammed creatively, worked hard on the techniques and identified all kinds of strengths and weaknesses. And, we left them with recordings of their training that will serve them well as their careers progress.
Voice & presentation coach Marilyn Pittman & executive producer Marianne Wilman were the Business Presence coaches at this training.