Together, we can do this


I was asked to help organise a press conference for the launch of a new internet television station. The four-person team that was to speak at the conference - the station director, the newsroom's editor-in-chief, and the sales and marketing directors - had been formed about a month earlier. Some of the team members were completely new, others knew each other from before. This was the first press conference they were to speak at. The question they asked most often was, "What on earth am I going to say?"

We had about two months to prepare. In that time, we held several meetings, the most important of which was the first one, where the goal was to coalesce the team and set a common vision of "what WE want to say to the audience". In this way, we replaced the original four individual approaches that had been concentrating on "what I am going to say". 

During our kick-off meeting, I asked the clients what might have seemed to be misleading questions, but which gave them perspective and helped them to see the event through the eyes of the journalists who would be sitting in the audience. This was followed by a brainstorming session that yielded plenty of interesting ideas.

In subsequent meetings, we worked out what roles and topics would be covered by what team members at the press conference. We worked on the presentation and I helped each speaker to prepare at the conference venue itself. We polished their lines, rehearsed the volume at which they would speak, and improved their posture. Then we held a dress rehearsal with all the speakers, which included practising how to pass the floor, etc. 

The team felt confident before the event and it was clear that everyone knew what their role was and what value they would deliver to the audience.