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Why it is Important to Have a Personal Coach and Media Trainer

Posted by Guest Blogger on February 23, 2015

Remember Michael Bay’s on-stage meltdown at CES last year?

The director was in Las Vegas to discuss Samsung’s curved HDTVs. The teleprompter being used to cue the onstage presenters malfunctioned, Bay got flustered and walked off-stage.

Embarrassed, Bay later wrote in his blog, “I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”

He’s not alone. Live shows, presentations, and public speaking at various locales are almost no one’s thing. It takes practice.

Rock Star Media Trainer, Bill McGowan, writes in his book Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time, “According to Inside Apple, Steve Jobs practiced dozens of times before a big presentation, staging and rehearsing so that nothing was left to chance.”  Ditto Bill Clinton, master communicator.

Just as elite athletes train with coaches their entire career, so do the most effective thought leaders and executives. It’s a muscle, you need to stay limber – and you need to adapt with the times (and the technology).

In the factual entertainment sphere, where personality and authenticity are key, I often hear concerns about talent or “real people” sounding rehearsed and stiff.

I get it. Whether you’re developing a reality project or delivering a TEDtalk it has to come across as genuine. I counter there’s a big difference between being prepped – knowing what you’re doing and understanding the process – versus spewing canned answers that feel scripted and fake.

I tell my clients to practice noon and night and then deliver it like you’re saying it for the first time.

Recently I wrapped a casting project for “a major cable network” – a hybrid “how to/behind the scenes” show looking for experts with a very specific technical skill set – and funny enough all of the network’s final selects had some kind of prior performing or on-camera experience although none are actors or performers.

That prior experience helped each tell their story and be entertaining, interesting and “real” in a Skype interview and that’s what the network responded to.

A big part of my coaching business is working with bloggers, YouTubers and social media stars who are looking to evolve their careers and broaden their audiences through on-camera opportunities, panels, speaking engagements and relationships with brands.

I’m sure NATAS wished someone had trained Vine star Brittany Furlan, and vloggers Lauren Elizabeth, Jessica Harlow and Meghan Rosette before they hired them to host last year’s red carpet for the Daytime Emmy’s.

The Washington Post called it a “disaster and hot mess.”

I’m sure it looked good on paper.

And I’m convinced the difference between success and failure was on-camera coaching and media training.

Why it is Important to Have a Personal Coach and Media TrainerBarbara Barna Abel is a casting director, media coach and CEO of Abel Intermedia. She has cast over 100 unscripted projects, helping launch the careers of Adam Richman, Clinton Kelly and Ted Allen among others. Follow her on twitter @barbarabarna

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