My mother-in-law gave me David Dimbleby’s new book, ‘Keep Talking’ for Christmas. It’s part autobiographical, part exploration of the past, present and future of the BBC and it’s a good read. With my media training hat on I was drawn to this line:

“I watched my father talking to millions of people while seeming to be speaking informally only to one, and perhaps in doing so I developed the belief that I could do it too.”

He continues,

“As I watched him I instinctively grasped how to use the camera, how to speak as though it was a person not the camera I was talking to, and how to avoid sounding stilted or appearing nervous.”

In the absence of broadcasting royalty for a dad, can that informality be taught? The idea of a conversational, intimate delivery is one of the most essential components of good media training. It’s the bit that’s difficult, most intangible, but ultimately the most rewarding. Yes, there are techniques around both content and delivery, but more than anything it’s about headspace – helping people feel natural in an unnatural space. As another broadcasting giant Oprah Winfrey once said,

“I’m as comfortable in front of the camera as I am breathing. The little red light comes and I’m like ‘hey there, how you doing?’”

That’s about as good a headspace as you can ask for. 2023 is about channelling our inner Dimbleby or Winfrey and ‘talking to many while seeming to speak only to one’.

Happy New Year.