Successful CEOs and the Media

Woman In Media

By Lisa Calhoun

Television and video segments featuring your business create lasting value. They showcase the company and do more than just inform – they sustain credibility for years. Video interviews are also tough to live down when they go wrong (thanks YouTube!)

Many transparent and intelligent CEOs make the same mistakes in video segments. Luckily, they’re easy to correct.

Rule 1 – Stay calm. Executive pace is even, calm, collected and unflappable – a measured pace. Think Walter Cronkite reading the news – he oozes confidence, power and a feeling of “I’m capable and so is my company.” Many executives, especially innovative and entrepreneurial ones, are too fast, flighty and uber-energetic. That doesn’t play well. A “solid” feel is an asset.

Rule 2 – Be open. Don’t change your openness. As a connector of people and ideas, transparent comments communicate in a “real” way to people who have been oversold. Your legal department and CFO probably have a long list of things you can’t discuss, but you’ve got to lead with your gut and trust your instincts too. If it’s not listed in the NDA, you can share it. If you’re the CEO, you know the company’s vision and its communication are your primary mandate.

Rule 3 – Point: Point one is the “big sandbox” questions about how your company fits into the marketplace. If you communicate one thing well, this is it. Most CEOs are asked to tell how their company “fits in.” You do that concisely by giving the biggest number that is truthful. Then clarify that number however you like.

Investor relations mean vision. For media, start large and go small. Journalists are into sound bites because that’s how they grab audience attention to read the depth of the story. It’s not bad, it’s just reality. Your true audience will read at depth because they care about your subject like you do, so this fact isn’t working against you. Use the medium to become a media artisan.

Lisa Calhoun is founder and CEO of Write2Market. The firm is recognized by Wall Street Journal, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur and USA Today for its innovative approach to crafting reputation. She also serves as President of Entrepreneur’s Organization’s Atlanta Chapter.

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