How to make someone really stop and listen

How to make someone stop and listen

How do you make people stop and listen?

After years spent preparing for interviews, both asking and answering questions. And even more following the big news interviews, I wanted to summarise what makes me really listen:

1. Paint me a picture – literally. Use language with colour, imagery and stories to help me make an emotional connection with what you are talking about.

2. Vocal power. Use your tone of voice, pauses and stress on critical words, to make it feel like you’re talking directly to me.

3. Hold my hand. Lead me through what you’re saying by keeping it simple, impactful and ultimately memorable.

Image credit: Magda Ehlers

I hate doing video…

I hate doing video
  • I hate listening to my own voice.
  • I hate having to watch it back.

And I know lots of people feel exactly the same way.

Given that I train others how to speak on camera I’ve forced myself to take my own medicine and now – I’m actually starting to enjoy it, a little!

Here’s what I’ve learnt and what you need to know…

Get comfortable with your sound bites

You've got no idea what you're bloody talking about!

When it comes to media training, we often see our clients fighting to convert wordy corporate messages into convincing sound bites.

So how do you get comfortable with what you’re saying?

Practice with the corporate message, a bit, and then abandon it and practice saying it like you’re talking to a friend.

Remember why you’re doing the interview – to promote, rebut or disrupt – keep a laser focus on your why, through every twist and turn of the interview.

Finally don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Not like a parrot, but by using examples to explain your points in different ways.

Contact me if you’d like any more media training tips.

We train award winners!

Betsy the Dog - Award Winner

🤗 Huge congratulations to our 4 fabulous clients recognised as inspiring industry leaders. Well-earned, richly deserved.

👀 Discretion prevents a public shout-out, but you know who you are!

For clients on the journey to awards, our media training is still a win – why?

💭 Reconciling opposing views in the office

👊 Confidence to answer difficult questions in front of an audience

⚖ Diplomacy to find centre ground in a professional stand-off

🏋‍♂️ Clarity to sell strengths in a VIP meeting

👉 Media training is a recipe for success in these situations and more.

🐶 Thanks to Betsy for wearing her award with such good grace.

Don’t be a loser

Don't be a loser

Don’t read this if you’re a loser…

Every time you stand up to present in front of peers or strangers, you should practice.

Every time you agree to talk to a journalist about you or your business you should practice.

No great presentation came from winging it.

Good interviews don’t happen by chance.

Winners practice… don’t be a loser.

Space Shuttle Learnings

Space Shuttle - The failure to imagine the consequences of failure are catastrophic

Tell your boss to watch this Space Shuttle documentary…

📢 Are you the lone voice nudging senior colleagues about crisis planning?

🤔 Are there known issues too trifling to confront amongst all the “business as usual”?

Watch ‘The Space Shuttle that Fell To Earth’ on BBC iPlayer and tell your bosses to do the same, if you want to get crisis communications at the top of the agenda.

👍 Congratulations to Mindhouse Productions, this brilliant 3-parter, sensitively told a difficult story, which among many things shows why a culture of open communication matters. And is as important as crisis preparation.

🚀 Even if you are not in the business of space flight, speaking out, seeking answers and encouraging conversations, will help avoid issues becoming devastating crises.

And give me a shout if your crisis comms nudge could do with a shoulder.

Thank you Leslie Nielsen (Dr Rumack) and the iconic Airplane!

I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley!

Comedy is a useful ice breaker in crisis communications planning when we ask everyone to think the worst… no… the very, very worst.

And this quote is a reminder of everything that shouldn’t happen when things get serious. Why?

  1. Doctors don’t fly planes. If you want to know who is at the helm in moments of difficulty, do the thinking before the bad stuff happens.
  2. Preparing for the worst improves the likelihood of a better outcome, I promise you it’s worth the investment.
  3. Crisis planning is seriously fun, but never funny. Being invited to join companies at the start of their crisis comms planning is the best part of our job.

If crisis comms planning is making you seriously nervous, let us help you move it off the to-do list.

Too Much Passion

Too Much Passion?

Can you have too much passion?

🏆 With awards season upon us, it is worth remembering that behind every good speech is a lot of performance.

Kate Winslet has years of acting experience to draw on.

🔓 So how do the rest of us unlock our best when presenting to others?

🌟 For me, it’s about Producing your Performance, something I learnt working with legendary BBC talent.

🎭 Kate’s passion creates an emotional reaction – even when speaking from notes – so find the passion in your presentation and take it to your audience.

And get in touch if you’re up for unlocking your presentation passion.

Good Ship Mangold ahoy!

The Good Ship Mangold

The good ship Mangold Consultancy continues on a strong course, thanks to the team covering my watch during a recent stay ashore!


Here are some treasures discovered on my return…

Problem: Keeping the spokesperson’s muscle flexed.

Solution: Meet our clients with a fitness mindset to media training – regular sessions to grow the muscles needed by providing current, timely and relevant insight and examples of press performance done well.

Problem: Organisations are facing increasing scrutiny from unannounced visitors demanding a big ask of frontline teams who meet them.

Solution: Provide practical ways to keep pace with changing methods of scrutiny, which reinforce reputation management and protect staff wellbeing.

PS. Time out is an excellent way to take a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings and future course. Many thanks to Jess Mangold, Estelle Kinzett, Justin Clark, Amanda Coleman and Emma Davies for your “all hands on deck” approach!

Thank you to DALL-E Open Ai for this image.

The press doorstep – can you handle it?

The press doorstep - can you handle it?

Only watch this if you KNOW how to handle a doorstep*

The infamous doorstep only ends when the journalist leaves with something.

A no comment, a closed door, or in this case a response.

Managing a doorstep takes some well thought through choreography.

*Full disclosure, this one features my Dad, Tom Mangold, in action on BBC Panorama in 1997 so I may be biased.

The Post Office, Boohoo and the moments I miss investigative journalism

Investigative Journalism

It’s times like these that I miss making TV.

Watching Mr Bates vs the Post Office and the long overdue response from the Government I’m reminded about the power of TV and its reach – 9.2 million people watched the first episode, and that was before people started really talking about it.

Yes, there are lots of means to get publicity for your cause these days but there is nothing more convincing than real human stories, told well, through public service broadcasting.

Meanwhile, a BBC investigation has found that Boohoo put ‘Made in UK’ labels on clothes made overseas.

Ooooh to have been part of the team uncovering that little nugget.

These dramas and investigations take big teams of highly talented individuals, they take money (so lacking in journalism these days) and they take a collective will to ‘out the truth’ even when it can be months and years to gather the evidence you need.

My advice to any business on the receiving end of one of these investigations is take it seriously, if they’re coming for your response, they’ve already got the evidence they need and the truth, well the truth will always out, even if it takes 25 years.

Accepting and solving a communications training challenge from a global client

Global Client Challenge

Challenge accepted…

Loyal global client presents a new challenge.

“How do we grow our crisis comms resilience as a new team in multiple continents, time zones & cultures”

We got to deliver our solution at their European HQ. The energy, positivity & comments in the room suggest we exceeded expectations.

Job done.

This was followed by a welcome moment to reflect on where the training goes next while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

‘I really don’t want to speak to you again this year’.

Mangold Consultancy Christmas

No offence intended. None taken.

When clients chose us as their 24/7 crisis comms support, we get that a good Christmas for them means not speaking to us.

But if they do, we’re here. Poised with slightly wonky paper hats.

And to anyone else in need of 24/7 crisis comms support on speed dial…You know where to find us!

Happy Christmas to our wonderful team, clients and wider network – may 2024 be everything you wish for.