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How you can be a better communicator – learn from ABC’s AM show

Why you should be a fan of ABC’s AM show – how YOU can be a better communicator and better media talent

If you want to be better media talent (or improve your communication/persuasion skills in general) you can learn so much from the ABC’s radio program. AM.


I’m not connected with this show in any way  – I’m just a massive fan of the show. AM helps me in my work helping spokespeople be better media talent or  be more persuasive in live face-to-face presenters.

Every day you can get excellent examples of great media and persuasion talent. I usually listen to it live – and I can also listen to the show later at its website. (link below)

What I like best is being able to access the transcripts a few hours after the show airs.

You can hear a good example on air and then access the transcripts to study the actual words people use. I’m a real word nerd analysing the words used – the tense, the voice, person etc.

The show regularly features leading politicians – and you can learn from other spokespeople too. The host Tony Eastley and the reporters are top notch too!

Here’s an example from this week you can learn from.

This week I was very impressed by Professor Frank Oberklaid  – director of the Centre of Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

The Professor was talking about the importance of children learning to read BEFORE they are of  school age.

From my experience helping professors and other professionals (lawyers and doctors) – professionals can  be boring media talent – too detailed, too dry, too detached.

Many professionals  are too concerned with what fellow professionals will think of them – whereas they should be thinking about the media audience they are really speaking to. Professionals tend to  play it safe – they put in too much detail and they are afraid to show enthusiasm or other emotion. They want to be professionally detached.

Professor Oberklaid is good media talent – because along with his knowledge and EXPERTISE,  he also has the ability to EXPLAIN things simply and  with appropriate EMOTION.

Just remember –  to be good media talent you need to deliver your EXPERTISE with appropriate EMOTION and be able to EXPLAIN things in a simple way.

As a journalist turned media skills coach, I was very impressed with Professor Oberklaid.

Here’s what you can “borrow” to be good media talent:

  1. Use dramatic (yet professionally appropriate) language to describe why new data and statistics are powerful and “startling” The media love words such as startling, shocking, alarming. Don’t be afraid to use these “headlinese” words if appropriate. You can still be dramatic AND accurate. He calls the evidence startling (TRUE) What’s startling about this data is…(state something that is startling)

(“I call that evidence startling. You can’t be exposed to this sort of research and understand it and continue as business as usual – it’s just too powerful.”)

        2. Build on something the audience is already familiar with – using the familiar to introduce your audience to something not so familiar . Also know as the ALSO technique. Start with the familiar then “ALSO” into your message.

(“It’s very good that we’ve got this robust and vigorous debate about schools and school education and Gonski and so on. But, we really should also be having the debate about the years before they get to school”)

      3. Use a simple comparison. Often professionals are loathe to use simple comparisons – but the media and audience often love a good simple yet powerful comparison.

(Professor Oberklaid likens it to the Snowy Mountains scheme; a large public investment in the future of the country)

     4. Deliver your  message with appropriate  emotion  and energy. The professor is not too “over the top”, but you can sense his concern and commitment. Many professional speak in a monotone voice  with long sentences and long words. He sounds natural and more conversational.

Here is a link to AM and I encourage you to listen to the interview. Listen to the short sentences and (in general) short everyday words.

It’s the item:

Study shows importance of early literacy to later performance

I encourage you to listen to AM and take note of who you think “comes across well” in interviews. You can access the transcripts to study their actual words. I often use techniques I hear on AM when I am “talent” in a media interview.

TV show talk


If you’d like help to be better media talent, I’d love to help.

I’ve had plenty of experience and success helping professionals simplify their messages and feel comfortable in an envirnment that can be out of their comfort zone.

If you enjoyed this post and learned some tips  – Let’s connect!

I blog about fun stuff as well as more serious business topics.

tony biancotti



Linked In 

tony biancotti

tony biancotti

Syd+Bris+Singapore-Presentation/communication trainer(talkforce) +CEO=Chief E-fan-gelism Officer – E-fan-gelist


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