Communication Skills

Media Skills Development

A talented major junior hockey player (for example) probably interacts with the media more often than most executives at major corporations. And, certainly, all professional coaches, athletes, teams and organizations stand in a persistent relationship with the media.

Unfortunately, the majority of the sports world never receives the sort of comprehensive media awareness and media skills development training that can assist an individual or organization in bolstering their sports successes—and in averting the communications crises that ruin careers every year. Even more unfortunately, the small number of people who are “trained” to deal with the media are trained very poorly. Generally, such “training” involves putting an athlete or coach through a series of mock interviews without providing the critical meta-knowledge and background perspective—and this leaves a client seriously vulnerable to unexpected circumstances, questions, and attacks.

At Prospect, we work with our clients actively (individually, in small groups, or in larger talks) to ensure that each client understands the media, has a sense of how the media operates, and is aware of ‘why they do what they do’. That’s why Prospect Communications stresses media awareness before beginning to talk about media “training”, or as we prefer to call it, media skills development.

With a firm understanding of the media in place, Prospect then guides its clients—in extensive multi-day programs, or ongoing private coaching—to begin to develop the “tangibles”: confidence, clarity, consistency, proper body language, message delivery, and so forth.

Interview Skills Development

Success in the world of sports—as a player, coach, manager or agent—invariably requires that an individual engage in innumerable interviews. For young amateur or semi-pro athletes, team interviews are an important part of making it to the “big time”. For aspiring coaches and general managers, good job interview skills can mean the difference between a long career and a non-starter. And, of course, for any individual lucky and talented enough to work in professional sports, media interviews are an unavoidable and important part of the job.

It should surprise no one that, each year, careers are made, and ruined, by both job-related interviews and media interviews. What should surprise us all, however, is how few members of the sports community are adequately trained to prepare for and engage in interviews in a thoughtful, clear and successful way.

An important part of Prospect’s interview skills development service includes “mock interviews”, but unlike other agencies (which believe that interview skills development is solely a matter of “practice”), Prospect believes that much more goes into becoming a good interviewee. And, as such, mock interviews are only a single portion of a much larger process.

Interview skills development requires building a knowledge base about the nature of interviews (and the differences between various sorts of interviews, and the significance of the context of each interview). And, furthermore, interview skills development is intricately tied to issues management, because knowing what one is likely to be asked (and being able to prepare accordingly) is almost always a matter of properly identifying what the interviewing party is likely to consider one’s “issues”.

Prospect’s approach to interview skills development teaches clients to actively and systematically prepare for interviews, rather than “training” clients to simply answer a collection of often-arbitrary practice questions.

Public Speaking Skills Development

Public speaking is not simply the art of being able to speak in front of a huge crowd of people without fainting. Public speaking is a skill which allows one to address any number of other people—from a small group of 5 in a seminar presentation or job interview, to a massive audience of 5,000 in a stadium—in a way that communicates a clear, consistent, engaging and persuasive message (whether silly or serious).

Almost all members of the sports community—even young athletes, agents, and boardroom management—are called upon to deliver speeches or presentations (both formal and informal), and to speak to a number of people who are focused squarely on the individual.

It is no secret that public speaking is commonly held as a “greatest fear” by many people. It can be daunting, for sure. But, good public speaking skills can literally build careers (and save them!). And poor public speaking skills can prevent an otherwise-capable athlete, coach, agent, or manager from ever achieving true success.

What Prospect calls “public speaking skills development” is a process of teaching a client to become capable of crafting (in advance, or “on the fly”) an intelligent and coherent message, and helping them to become comfortable and confident in delivering this message in a way that others will find engaging and persuasive.