Media and presentation training for executives still applauds 20th century TV mannerisms and political experts who have spent decades navigating the media. However, we are in the 2020s, so isn’t it time to look to the Twitch streamers who have amassed millions of followers?
Live streams are now flooding in from every corner. Today, it’s standard for companies and family member’s alike to rush to live and streaming platforms and create content by chatting in real-time with their audience.
Indeed, YouTubers, TikTokers and Twitchers have mastered the presentation skills of the new age, proofed by hundreds of live broadcasts. Of course, live broadcasting is nothing new for media houses, but it significantly diversifies the way companies communicate.
Despite this change, corporate executives’ media and presentation training is often based on the media environment and TV mannerisms of the late 20th century.
With that in mind, here are three reasons why your company’s management should consider updating their presentation skills for the streaming era.
1. Streaming is here to stay
“Don’t worry. The broadcast will only take a few minutes.” – Coach of the Past
YLE and HS Visio recently reported on the growing popularity of Amazon-owned live streaming service Twitch in Finland. In the news, the journalists also discuss streaming as a profession and the rapid global growth of Twitch. In 2021, Twitch attracted an average of almost three million simultaneous viewers internationally.
After initially focusing on live games, the service has rapidly opened its doors to other “programme formats”, such as hour-long chat shows, NSFW content (best kept out of the office) or even hardware store trips. Even a Finnish sports personality has been broadcasting his programme on Twitch for some time.
That is why I would not be surprised if some of the debates in the coming parliamentary elections were held on this service in front of a much larger audience than before. If not through the parties’ own activity, then at the very least through extra-parliamentary initiatives.
2. Forget old mannerisms
“Put on a tie.” – Coach of the Past
The faith of companies in traditional media training as a pillar of media work runs deep. But not to worry. The basic skills of a good presenter apply equally well to the streaming format – albeit with a few conditions.
Media coaching is a series of products, not a single-cut solution. I am not arguing that investigative TV shows aren’t still an important forum for social debate or that we should scrap traditional journalist encounters. Instead, it is about the need to diversify the range of media and presentation training and understand that individual media training is not an off-the-shelf product for the turmoil companies face every day in the media landscape.
Stream viewers are used to being entertained. Audiences expect dialogue, a sense of humour and responsiveness from guests. Dress and camera angles should be planned and tested. Repetitively harping on about the central message is a ’nay’, personality is a ‘yay’. The teleprompter can be left to gather dust promptly, too.
A personal touch works. Streaming challenges corporate spokespeople to appear on very different broadcasts from what they are used to. Or what they have most often been coached to do. In a long-lasting stream, concentration is put to the test. Emotional speech slip-ups can expose communication pitfalls and cause the chat box in the stream to blow up. But that’s what today’s audiences crave most.
3. Watch, learn and copy politicians
“Absolutely. No comments.” – Coach of the Past
In most cases, companies have a clear policy on who speaks to the media. Despite this, management teams or key people are also trained to deal with the press. This is a hidden missed opportunity because few management team members need to go through the same media relations wringer as, for example, the CEO of a listed company.
Much more effective use of time and money would be to diversify management media training exercises. For example, how to present yourself convincingly at a streaming event or podcast broadcast, how to break bad news with staff on Teams, how to join an IG Live in general, or how to tell an inspiring story about your company during a stream.
Many media professionals, i. e. politicians, have long been appearing live to their constituents in various Q&A shows. Most with a relaxed approach and good results. As the parliamentary elections approach, it is also time for business leaders to reflect on their media and presentation skills.
A first step could be to invite a Member of Parliament and a Twitch host to discuss how to capture an audience’s attention used to live broadcasts.