Entries by Laura Shields

Lessons from the Brussels lockdown: Belgium’s foreign minister reminds us that even the most experienced spokesperson can’t always manage the news

There’s an expression used by media trainers called ‘breaking into jail’. This is when spokespeople get themselves into trouble in interviews (and get the wrong sort of headline) without the journalist having to do much to provoke it. A recent interview with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders reminds us that even the most experienced spokespeople […]

How to banish nerves from public speaking

At the start of my career I worked with a well-known and popular broadcast journalist with a ton of experience in presenting live TV.  He was confident, energetic and highly skilled at building empathetic connections with interviewees in a short space of time. He was also crippled by nerves and once told me how he […]

Juncker disappoints: We want more from EU speakers

This article first appeared on Hearings. Digital-Diplomacy. EU What is the purpose of a speech? Judging from some of the conversations I’ve been having with people on Twitter, I have been unfair to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, because I wanted him to deliver his State of the Union speech in an […]

The Brussels challenge: how to deliver better speeches

On Wednesday 9th September, Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver his first State of the Union (#SOTEU) speech as President of the European Commission. Despite being a comparatively recent addition to the EU’s political calendar (the SOTEU was introduced less than a decade ago), in its short life the speech has nonetheless managed to attract the kind […]

How to respond to sexist media questions

My initial reaction on reading that UK Labour leadership candidate Liz Kendall had told a Mail on Sunday journalist to f**k off when he tried to guess her weight was:  ‘Go Liz!’. My second was how  annoying it was that an article about a bright and serious women should not only include this question, but […]

The Greek crisis in soundbites: this week’s top 5

Greece has been getting our attention at The Media Coach this week, meaning that quotes about the impasse over the debt crisis are grabbing headlines and making an impact. As our clients know, our word for quotable language is ‘Sizzle’ which comes from the old marketing phrase ‘Sell the sizzle not the sausages’, meaning you […]

3 Stories the UK’s Pro-EU lobby should tell

We’re less than three weeks into the shadow UK-EU referendum campaign and already companies and business groups have started drip feeding negative warnings about vague threats to jobs and growth into the public debate. Airbus, JCB and Vodafone are just three of the big names adding their two cents but precisely, who these warnings are […]

Pegida’s spokesperson falls into the negative framing trap

If you are an organisation or group with an agenda that could easily be misconstrued by public opinion then you need to work hard to make sure your PR is spot on and doesn’t backfire against you. Earlier today, Pegida,  a German group which is campaigning against the ‘Islamification of the West’ held their first […]