Friday, 13 July 2012

Newsletter Issue 220, July 2012

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 220, July 2012
Hi guys,
Ever been interviewed by the media? If you did, did you do enough preparation? If not, check out Interview Techniques below.
I muse on what is in a word in Life Balance
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Interview Techniques

Have you ever been interviewed by the media? If you have, do you think you did well ...or not?
We usually don't get taught the techniques for what makes for a good interview, and we often go into them very, very unprepared.
Like most things, we need a plan, some goals, and a good dose of emotional intelligence to stick to our plan and achieve our goals.
We need to think about what messages we want to convey. That means we need to do some homework. We need to first ask ourselves some questions: what is our one key message that we want to get across at all costs? What are the sound-bites that we would most like to have picked up on? Can we keep our temper if we are provoked? If not, what can we do to ensure that we can keep calm? What do we think the media will be wanting to know? Can we tell a good story? Have we time to practice?
When preparing what it is that we want to say, we can divide up a draft 'script' for ourselves into an introduction, a body and a conclusion or summary. Our introduction needs to lay out very briefly who we are and our key message. Our body should highlight all the main points, in a logical sequence, with enough evidential support, and be very clear. You should then be able to summarise very briefly what it is that you have said. A lecturer of mine always said "tell them what you are going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you have told them". The middle "then tell them" is the body :-)
Some points to remember:
  • Keep to your point: if you have a certain point of view that you want to get across, lead all your answers back to that point. Good speakers can tell a story - and keep to the point - really well. The adage “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” is very true.
  • You need to know who your audience or interviewer is, know what they will be looking for and deliver that.
  • You need to know your own strengths & weaknesses, and have practiced enough to be able to avoid interrupters (ah, um, OK, you know, like).
  • If you look confident, “Perception is reality” (Atwater, as cited by Forbes, 2008). Don't fidget. Avoid awkward silences; if you are very well practiced, there will always be an answer waiting. After all, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” (Triesthof, n.d.)
  • Use familiar terms and simple language, speak clearly, and remember that aphorism “We speak English, but we don’t [necessarily] speak the same language”.
  • Slow down, and use your voice. Vary your pace & inflection; project, but definitely don't raise your voice too much.
  • With your body language, use gestures, but not wild ones. Ensure you match your facial expressions to your gestures - in other words, be sincere. Move, but don’t intrude on either your audience’s or your interviewer's comfort zone. Look AT your interviewer and at a camera (if you are being filmed) to build rapport.
  • When handling questions:
    • If you can't answer the question for any reason, say why you can't, and why. If you are evasive, journalists will dig; if you are too vague, they will edit you out
    • Try to answer questions directly. Slice up complicated questions: reply that that is really two separate questions, ask yourself two versions of questions that you want to answer and then answer them.
    • Or direct a question back "That's a very good question. But can I just ask you..."
    • For a question you don’t want to answer “That’s a really interesting question. What I can tell you about [something I really want to tell you about] is…”
    • In dealing with aggression; the more aggressive the questions, the calmer and more pleasant you must become. Unless the journalist is both deadly accurate and has caught you unprepared, the audience will be on "your side" if you behave well
    • Dealing out aggression (NB - use this VERY carefully. This is a very tricky double-edged sword. Watch politicians like Winston Peters who are masters at this):
      • Attack one word in the sentence "Frequently? What do you mean, frequently?!"
      • In reply to "A number of people feel.." pounce with "Name six of them" (be VERY careful with this. Some journos will have this info to hand, and then you are scuppered)
      • Attack the interviewer's knowledge with "You obviously haven't read the report". But again, be very careful. You will need to know your material very well indeed and need to be quite sure that the journalist hasn't read it; take the tack of educating rather than being condescending.
  • Forbes, S. (Director). (2008). Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story [Television series episode]. In Forbes, S. & Walker, N. (Producer), Frontline. Boston, MA: Inter Positive Media. Read more:
  • Mohan, T., McGregor, H., Saunders, S., & Archee, R. (2008). Communicating as Professionals (2nd ed). South Melbourne Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.
  • Stoldt, GC, Dittmore, SW & Branvold, SE (2006). Sport Public Relations: Managing Organisational Communication. USA, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Triesthof, Wim (n.d.). A Few Interesting Quotations. Retrieved 22 July 2012 from

Life Balance

What's in a word?
Lots. Words define our context, our sub-text, where we have come from, and what limits, directs and channels our thinking.
I was musing on "work-life balance". On the surface, this phrase is totally accepted as meaning that we live a rounded life with work and private life healthily compartmentalised.
However, let's look at the words. Work. Life.
I had never noticed that I was dead at work, and only started living when I left the office. In fact, my work really brings me alive, so having life contrasted with its antithesis, work, really doesn't work for me at all. I love my work, and it inspires and drives me. Needless to say, I have 'issues' with the term "work-life balance".
But if we replaced the "life" bit, what would we replace it with? We could go for "work-recreation balance"; but then that is quite a clunky phrase. It doesn't trip off the tongue, nor is it so memorable, so conveying of opposites.
There is really nothing like Anglo Saxon monosyllables for being punchy and direct, so perhaps "work-home balance"? The trouble is, that sounds far too confining for today's weekend mega-shoppers.
Hmm... "work-play balance"? It might be a goer, but lots of people would find that either too frivolous or too energetic.
What about, as Sandy Miller, author of Managing Human Resources in NZ, suggested to me, how about "whole of life balance"? Or perhaps we just take Sandy's idea one little step further to "life balance". Now that makes sense to me.
Life balance. Where we seek to create a life that holds all the components we need to nourish ourselves, to fulfil our core goals, to have room to think, to work, to play, to create, to strive and to feel. Where we can gather those around us who love and support us, and have room for us to love and support them in turn. Where we can be whole people.
Life balance. It applies equally if you are retired, working, studying or raising a family. It comes without implied delineations between full and part time work, or professions and trades, in employment or self-employment.
Life balance. It also implies that we can be out of balance; that sometimes we have to take things out in order to come back to good alignment. It implies an opportunity cost for things we add to our lives. It implies we have to take a balanced approach for a balanced life.
Life balance. Now that is a fine idea with an appropriate name.
So I would like to call for change - let's remake that old chestnut anew as "life balance".
I suggested this on the Career Development Association of NZ's LinkedIn group and got some interesting responses from CDANZ members: view the discussion here.
What do you think?

Oracle's Virtual Machine to run XP Software

If you are having trouble getting your old XP software to run on your Windows 7 PC, and are tearing your hair out. take some advice from long-time Windows guru, Fred Langa, in response to a Window's Secrets reader who had "many old shareware/freeware programs that run on 32-bit systems only". Fred's solution was to:
Try Oracle's free VirtualBox ( I use it on my Win7 Home Premium 64 setup when I need to run virtualized copies of XP, Vista, or Win7 for experimentation. It runs them all fine — no muss, no fuss, no hassles.
It's the most compatible virtual PC solution I know of — and it's free!
I highly recommend it.
Definitely worth a try :-)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • ICT, Information & Communications Technology. All those bits of wired connectivity that we now take for granted: your smart phone, your PC, the web, your laptop, your iPad and iPod.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we look at a few Word tricks:
  • Word "Apply Heading 1 from Style dialog box; use to format paragraphs while working within text" Alt & Ctrl & 1
  • Word "Apply Heading 2 from Style dialog box; use to format paragraphs while working within text" Alt & Ctrl & 2
  • Word "Apply Heading 3 from Style dialog box; use to format paragraphs while working within text" Alt & Ctrl & 3
  • Word "Auto Text" Alt & Ctrl & V
  • Word "Display Mark Table of Contents Entry dialog box while working in a document with a Table of Contents" Alt & Shift & O
  • Word "Display Microsoft System information" Ctrl & Alt & F1
  • Word "Normal Style" Alt & Shift & 5 NUM (Num Lock off)

Hot Linx
Check out what Chinese architectural firm MAD architects have created for the Ordos Museum in the sandy deserts of Inner Mongolia, at
Don't forget to fill in Carol Kinsey Goman's questionnaire for her survey on the lies we tell at
Regus thinks the command and control way of leadership is gone; and, to improve our profitability, productivity and work satisfaction, we should instead adapt our workplaces using kinetic principles. Take the questionnaire on how kinetic your workplace is at
When working in a large document and want to find your place again the next time you open it, use TechRepublic's bookmark macro. Read all about it at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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