Strategic communications specialist, Sally Sherry '06, is no stranger to the media. With nearly twenty years of experience, Sherry, founder of Media Strategy Experts, has worked as a news reporter for KGTV ABC Affiliate, a CBS affiliate in Casper, Wyoming, and anchored for an NBC affiliate in Palm Desert, California. She has also won several awards including the Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Excellence in Television Journalism.
We recently asked Sherry to help us prepare the contestants for the Third Annual Crain’s New York Business Perfect Pitch Competition, a competition designed to empower entrepreneurs to hone their media pitch skills through skills training while competing to receive a Best Media Pitch Award by Crain’s New York Business reporters.
Journalists look for stories that people would benefit from hearing, stories that uncover issues, facts, and solve a problem for readers, Sherry explained to the contestants. “What makes an interviewee effective is their skill level as communicators. They know what to say and how to say it.”
When asked for key mistakes she has seen people make on television, Sherry stressed foremost the importance of keeping your point as clear and simple as possible. “Avoid using industry jargon that other people don’t understand,” she advised.
The other factors involved preparation and projecting the proper image. “Think about any controversial questions you may get and prepare responses. Getting defensive will get you nowhere. Also, don’t stray from your message. Be passionate about what you do. If you’re not excited about your business, no one else will be; inspire excitement!”
Lastly, a lot of people fail in this area: “make sure the image you are projecting is consistent with the image of your brand. Projecting the proper image when members of the media are around is extremely important. For example, voters expect the president of the United States to be a person who is in control. Recall 2004 in Iowa, when Howard Dean’s campaign unraveled in a mere 25 seconds!”
“The contestants were all very engaged in the workshop,” added Sherry, “and gave each other fantastic feedback. It was a real pleasure to work with them; the competition will be a lot of fun to watch!”
Join us for the November 16th Crain’s New York Business Perfect Pitch Competition
The Crain’s New York Business Perfect Pitch Competition will be open to attendance by the broader Columbia community and will provide an engaging opportunity to learn about effective media pitching and see entrepreneurs and journalists in action.
The competition’s finalists will be interviewed live by the competition’s judging panel comprised of staff from Crain’s New York Business.