Here we go! Africa on my mind. First, a big shout out to the team at Factory 78 who continue to deliver quality content. Whenever they knock on my media brand Ladybrille’s door, for the most part, it’s a “yes” response. I am a big sucker for African media and entertainment professionals who come correct i.e. have your stuff together before you approach people, and Factory 78 definitely does that every-time with its content. This brings me to my topic today.
P-Square , Wiz Kid and DJ Abrantee recently invited the press to a press conference for the Afrobeats Festival which took place this past weekend. There are so many things they all did right that are worth highlighting. So,if you are an African musician or in the entertainment business, here are a few tips on how to speak at a press conference.
1. Come prepared: P-Square , Wiz Kid and DJ Abrantee came prepared. They know their market, they addressed the challenges they face trying to break into the UK market, the gradual but consistent momentum they are gaining and also explained how the media and UK audience can help them spread Africa’s music.
2. Have Proper Diction: A press conference is where you enunciate clearly. It is not the time to be sloppy about how you speak so that you are not understood or misquoted. Don’t try to change your accent, P-square doesn’t. Just enunciate i.e. speak clearly so you can be understood.
3. Be excited about what you speak of: DJ Abrantee is a great example of this. He is so excited and passionate about the topic, African music, it is contagious. Know how to get the press excited so when they return to their offices, the first thing they want to do is write about you!
4. Lose the jargon: Even if you wrote the book on slangs etc. a press conference is not the place to start unleashing your slang skills. The press could care less. It is time wasted for us to sit there through all of your jargon speak, and then try to decipher what the heck you just said. Save the slang etc. for your music, fans or your friends. Your audience at a press conference is the media i.e. trained professional journalists/writers whose job is to write about you. So, get on with it. EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: If you are like D’Banj, for example, and have your signature slang trademark word, depending on the press audience i.e. Nigerian press versus American press, you can use your “oshee” or “koko” etc. Even then, drop a few slangs and get on with it. The press need facts and a story angle to write about you. Your slang gets in the way.
5. Relax & Have a Sense of Humor: While the press is a more serious audience than your fan base, for example, they also appreciate laughter and humor. P-Square did this well here. Don’t be too stiff.
6. Make sure You can Be Heard: Get your manager or media coordinator putting on the press conference to test your mic so you are actually heard.
7. Personalize it: Personalize your story or message and show why the press should care. DJ Abrantee did this excellently with his story about how he is trying to put Africa on the map at his prestigious radio station. Why should the press care? Your ability to communicate why they should care will help the press write a favorable story towards you. Telling short and sweet stories about your experiences or experience of others will be helpful.
8. Reinforce Your Message: Don’t forget why you are there i.e. you have a newsworthy message you believe the press should hear. Regardless of the questions that are thrown at you, remember to smoothly transition and stay on message.
9. Stay cool, calm and collected: Press conferences don’t always go well. Don’t lose your temper. Don’t yell at press! Paul of P-Square messed up here a bit. A reporter/media person interrupted him at 20:10-20:13 on the You Tube clip and he yelled “Hold on!” DON’T DO THAT. Politely wait for the media person to finish ; because you are there to answer their questions and what you might be talking about is not necessarily what they want to hear or write about.
Once the question is posed, let the questioner know you will answer the question shortly, once you quickly make the point you were about to make. Make your point then answer the question.
10. Don’t leave until the press conference comes to a close:Once the allotted time to speak at your press conference comes close to ending, either the press coordinator, if you have one, or you, should inform the press you are almost done by signaling with a call for last questions. Take your last questions, reinforce your message, thank the press and wrap it up!
Hope this was helpful to you all. If so, leave your thoughts. If you are an African artist or entertainer, share with me some of your funny and not so funny moments dealing with the press at a press conference. I am curious to know. You can leave a comment below or on my page on Facebook here.
ON A SIDE NOTE: Paul Okoye, I am confused with your comment that “the USA does not have radio stations that play African music.” Where did that come from? We have lots of radio stations in the USA that do play African music. We just need our African artists to be more flexible and stop looking only at the big American radio stations when they visit the USA. From college campuses to radio stations in LA, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Bay Area etc., there are radio stations that play African music. The question is, will you give them your time when you are in the USA? A little drop of water makes a mighty ocean.
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