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Claire Doole is a former BBC correspondent and international spokeswoman who is passionate about helping people communicate with confidence. Since 2006, she has successfully trained hundreds of professionals in the art of presenting and public speaking, talking to the media, managing communications in a crisis, and writing for the web. In addition, she has coached C-level executives and public figures to give powerful TEDx and TED style talks in Europe and the Middle East. A Swiss and UK national, Claire trains and coaches in French and English.

Claire is also a highly experienced moderator having facilitated panel discussions with government ministers, NGO activists, humanitarians and human rights specialists at major events.

www.doolecommunications.com

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British PM Theresa May 500
Photo credit ©BBC Newsight

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

It amazes me that politicians still think they can get away with not answering the question during media interviews. Who are they hiring for media training? Certainly not me!

The web is full of examples of what not to do during a media interview. In my trainings I use an example of a Blackberry executive who is so on message but completely fails to hear the question.

Watch this as an example of a car-crash interview on BBC Breakfast News.

CDC 72 artist and flu vaccine

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

One of the golden rules of moderating is that the moderator does not have a view. Your role is to remain neutral and stimulate discussion so that the audience is engaged, learns something new and ideally changes behaviour or takes action afterwards.

However, once my job was over, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) asked me to reflect on my experience of moderating two panel discussions at their event marking World Immunization Week.

The theme of the symposium was flu vaccines part of the solution for a healthier and more productive society. It is a challenging theme – perhaps not as immediately gripping as the panel discussion the day after on shortages and supply. As I know from my background as a BBC correspondent and PR professional, it is easier to sell problems than solutions.

CDC journalism 2

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

My colleague, Jean Milligan, and myself, have just come back from Bangladesh where we were handling the local media for an event organised by one of Geneva’s international organisations.

For the organisation’s President, who is himself from Bangladesh, it was an opportunity to show that his country was open for business, able to successfully organise an international conference attended by more than 1200 people from 126 countries.

As this was the first international conference in Bangladesh for decades, there was a massive local press corps following the proceedings in great detail. Several national TV channels even broadcast the press conferences live.

I realised during my stint there that it is not easy to parachute into a complex local media environment, and manage the challenges and opportunities that arise. Looking back on my experience in Bangladesh and in numerous other places, I have come up with some tips on managing local media in an unfamiliar context.

The first thing to keep in mind is that many local media work to the highest professional standards. You may find that doing an interview with them requires much more knowledge than with the international media. However, do be aware of the constraints that some of them work under.

CDC moderatehottopic3 500

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

There can’t be many subjects that provoke more heated debate than the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. So when the founder of the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival (http://www.fifdh.org/site/en/home) asked me to moderate a debate on the subject last week, I knew I had my work cut out.

As a former BBC journalist, I follow current affairs but I am not a subject expert. Yet at the Festival I would have a room full of subject experts. There are large Jewish and Arab communities in Geneva and many organisations that work towards ending the conflict.

Preparation was crucial if I was not to make a diplomatic faux pas and do justice to the speakers: Israeli professor and peace activist, Daniel Bar-Tal, founder of Stop Israel Save the Occupation (http://www.siso.org.il) and Palestinian peace activist, Ali Abu Awwad, founder of the Tarir/Change Movement and Roots initiative (http://www.friendsofroots.net/the-people.html).

CDC HumanRightCouncil
Photo credit: © UN photo / Elma Okic

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

I am watching closely as the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council starts in Geneva. I am hoping that some of the diplomats I trained recently in public speaking for the UN Institute for Training and Research (http://unitar.org) are going to read their statements with impact.

As a former BBC Geneva correspondent I used to cover the Council and despair of finding a clip that I could use of a diplomat who was sounding natural and looking confident. Most of them would read their statements looking down at their text and in a monotonous tone.

I accept that sometimes diplomats don’t want to draw attention to their statements or at least not find themselves on the BBC news. However, often, on an issue as important as human rights, they do want to stand out and make their voices heard.

So, what are the techniques for making sure that when you read a prepared text such as a speech or a statement, people sit up and listen? By the way, these tips apply whether you are a diplomat or not!

One of the best ways to project confidence when speaking in public is to follow a technique mastered by some of the great public speakers – Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill.

They all managed to read a speech, sounding conversational and unscripted, using a technique known as “See-Stop-Say”.