Media Training at The Leadership Institute



Your Business Blogger and

The Diva in the studio Old Joke: The lost out-of- town visitor asks, How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

The local cynic replies,

Practice, Practice, Practice.

The cynic has it right, constant repetition — in sports, it’s called muscular memory — is the key to performance.

Your Business Blogger is usually selling something. And I’m always looking to sharpen my skills, such as they are. Continuous learning and all that.

So I decided to sit at the feet of a nationally recognized communications guru and rehearse under fire. And the heat of studio lights.

Taking daughter Diva to work, we revisited The Leadership Institute Studios which has an award-winning, state-of-the-art television facility in their Sacher Multi-Media Center in Arlington, Virginia.

Training is available at a reasonable price…

Which means they need to raise their fees.

I signed up for Effective Television Techniques Workshops: For conservatives who want to win.

Marianne Fogelson was our expert media expert-guru who reviewed the basics and dissected the goofy attempts to sell on camera.

Here are my class notes:

Don’t fake it. (Not all marketers are liars. Goodness.)

Don’t waste words.

Don’t fill in your air time with something other than words.

Always end with resources: your book; your blog; your website.

Start fast, don’t spend too much time on wind-up, simply [your organization’s name] / which stands for / [your organization’s mission]

Use a short numbered list; no more than three.

Spoon fed the television audience.

Don’t use numbers or random data or dates, unless a common/well known date such as 9.11.

When interviewed at a desk, sit square to the table.

Marianne reminded us about the Talley light, which indicates what camera is on.

On camera interviews are exactly like my real life conversations: keep talking until interrupted. Then wait for a hesitation and break in.

Smile and keep your face animated.

Look at the camera for your introduction only and for in-coming phone calls.

Women: wear long skirts. Please.

Remember, You are the expert, use data — but strike a balance between the personal and professional.

Assert X Because Y

Make your argument personal to the audience: your money; your life; your work; your children.

Be brave.

Appeal to emotion. Use logic. (Now this takes practice.)

Know your opponent: his language, his argument, his moves.

Know your networks and the hosts.

Remember: the debate is not an argument; it is an opportunity to change hearts and minds with new information.


Thank you (foot)notes:

To learn more about the program, see The Leadership Institute. This is an unpaid link.

See “Be Your Best In Public” and more on The Leadership Institute faculty at the jump.

“Be Your Best In Public” Courtesy of Edelman Communications, Inc.

Establish eye contact with your audience, interviewer or camera

Speak clearly — make each word count and don’t race through your words

Eliminate distracting words, such as uh, um, and ya know

Posture — sit or stand straight with shoulders back. Do not slouch in chair or wiggle feet

Punch key words or phrases to provide emphasis

KISS — with respect to your message, Keep It Short and Simple

FOCUS your message by preparing 3 key message points in soundbite length (30 seconds maximum)

Tell Them what you’re going to Tell Them, then Tell Them what you Told Them

Use personal anecdotes to capture viewers’ interest — people remember short stories

Keep up your energy level

Dress for success–wear a power color, such as blue or red.

Do your homework — Know the Goal of the interview, Viewer or listening audience, Time Frame of interview

Remember to breathe and smile

Practice, Practice, Practice

And media expert Genevieve Wood writes,

Americans watch a lot of television, with some studies reporting over 36 hours per person per week. We also know the average viewer changes channels over 100 times per hour. Why are these statistics important? Because they point to the ever-shrinking attention span of the viewer and illustrate how difficult it is to catch and keep their attention. You have about :08 seconds to make your first impression. In that very short time, your audience will come to several conclusions about you. They will decide if they believe you to be credible, if what you have to say affects them, if you are someone who represents their interests, if you are engaging and, last but certainly not least, if they like you. Your voice, your gestures and your appearance are all critical elements in their thought process.

Effective Television Techniques Workshop



Stephen is the founder and president of Stephen Clouse & Associates, Inc., a strategic communications/fundraising firm established in 1991. His firm provides consultation, message development and television training to conservative causes, GOP candidates, Republican committees and trade associations.

Stephen personally produced/and or coached videotapings with President George Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Honorable Jack Kemp, Congressman J.C. Watts, Jr., Steve Forbes, Honorable Bill Bennett, Honorable Ed Meese, Honorable Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Senator Bob Dole, Rush Limbaugh, Cal Thomas, Charleton Heston, Nancy Reagan, Steve Allen, Dean Jones, Pat Boone and many other national figures. In 1998, he trained the leadership of the New Democracy Party in Athens, Greece. In 1999, he instructed conservative leaders from Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Since that time, he has trained political figures from all over North America, South America, Africa and Europe.

Recognized professionally for outstanding video production, Stephen is both a Telly and Addy award-winner. CBS This Morning and Lehrer News Hour have used his footage for special programs.


Genevieve Wood is Vice President and a principal spokesperson for the Center for a Just Society, which she co-founded in 2005.

Wood has helped members of congress, political candidates, book authors, press secretaries, organizational spokesmen and public policy analysts, craft and shape their messages. She conducts public speaking and communications workshops for grassroots organizations nationwide.

A member of the Heritage Foundation’s national Media Advisory Board and a frequent speaker at public policy forums around the country, Wood was named a “2000 Rising Star in Politics” by Campaigns & Elections magazine. She is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC, FOX and CNN and has appeared on “Face the Nation,” “Politically Incorrect,” C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and PBS’s “To the Contrary.”

Most recently, Wood served for as Vice President for Communications at the Family Research Council. She was responsible for creating and implementing the organization’s communications strategy.

After serving as Deputy Press Secretary and spokesman for the Republican National Committee during the 1998 midterm election cycle, Wood launched the Center for Print and Broadcast Media at the Leadership Institute and served as the its Executive Director.

In 1993, Wood helped launch National Empowerment Television, a cable TV venture started by Paul Weyrich. She was a producer and on-air personality for the network. She anchored the network’s live coverage of the Clinton impeachment hearings, trial, and debate. During the 1996 election cycle, she also hosted “Left, Right, and Center,” a weekly radio program airing on KCRW, the NPR affiliate in Los Angeles.

Prior to moving permanently to Washington, Wood was the publicity coordinator for NBC News in New York City. She was the media-relations coordinator for the network’s coverage of the 1992 presidential primaries, conventions, and elections. She joined NBC in 1991 as an NBC Page.


Marianne Fogelson is a media coach and trainer for those seeking to apply television techniques to their political messages. She worked as a conservative political and legal commentator on MSNBC, Court TV, ITN, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX News Channel and has been on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” and “AM Live,” as well as radio stations nationwide.

Marianne served as the News Editor for America’s Voice television network, as well as a hosting much of the network’s programming including “Morning View,” “Legal Network,” and continuous coverage of the House and Senate Campaign Fundraising Hearings.

Before working with America’s Voice, Marianne served as the Deputy Director of the Center for Law & Democracy at the Free Congress Research & Education Foundation where she helped oversee grassroots projects that dealt with legal and social issues. She also co-directed the Center’s Judicial Selection Monitoring Project, a coalition of organizations that monitored the confirmation of federal judges and worked to defend an independent judiciary.

Marianne is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. J. Kevin Mulroy in Syracuse and worked in the law firm of Mackenzie Smith Lewis Michell & Hughes. Marianne is a member of the New York State, District of Columbia, and United States Supreme Court bars.


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1 Response

  1. I’ve attended PR training at the Leadership Institute and would love an opportunity to return. Thanks for the post, I think they are a solid resource.

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