With many firms pivoting to a remote or hybrid work environment, attorneys and other legal professionals are faced with a new set of challenges while adapting to a “virtual” world. LMA Boston is hosting the program “Mastering the Remote Media Interview – Lessons from a Former News Anchor” to help professionals take these challenges head-on. The presentation, by Mike Nikitas of Nikitas communications, will provide valuable tips to help attorneys and legal professionals maximize the effect of the remote media interview.
For a sneak peek ahead of the program, we asked Mike a few questions about his background and some of the biggest challenges we may face in preparing attorneys for a remote media interview.
What is your background in communications?
I was a journalist for 36 years – radio, print, and mainly TV, mostly in Boston. I interviewed thousands of newsmakers (many of them attorneys during live trial coverage) and, along the way, learned how to listen and elicit information that was hopefully meaningful and interesting to viewers. I interviewed many newsmakers who were incredibly proficient at getting out their message and many others who were not. Every day was different and a learning experience. I believe in learning every day. Recently I earned a Masters in Communications.
How did your journey lead to the founding of Nikitas Communications?
It started in TV when I interviewed a doctor about Lyme disease. She was a successful cardiologist, probably not the best person for this interview. But she had been booked, and it was obvious she was articulate and smart. Also terribly nervous. To calm her, I started making small talk during the commercial break. I asked her how her day had gone. She spit out that she had already done a transplant and a stent! I just stared at her, then down at my watch. I said, “it’s 12:10 pm, and you’ve already done all this??!! And you’re worried about talking with me about Lyme disease for three minutes? Well, don’t worry. This is not heart surgery, and the patient will not die!” She laughed, and we went on to do an excellent segment. But I realized then how even the most accomplished people could use help in navigating media interaction. That led to my first offering – media training. When I left the news business, I grew my business to include professional development in other communication skills. I also enjoy teaching and that fits perfectly into my business. I currently teach many of these skills in graduate programs at Brandeis and UNH Durham.
In your experience with media appearances, what do you find to be the biggest challenges for professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic and appearing “virtually,” on zoom or otherwise?
Two things. One is fundamental. You’ve got to look good and sound good on camera. Absolutely nothing should come between you and your message. Yet an astounding number of people give little or no thought to this and are still presenting themselves in a way that distracts from what they’re saying. The other is distilling and simplifying their message for a wider audience. We’ll work on all of this during our time together.
Will attendees of this program come away with actionable steps to work past these challenges?
I hope so! Some of what we cover can be applied immediately. Other skills take mindfulness and hard work to master. But I’ve found that attorneys are usually some of the best professionals at communicating, and the quickest studies, so I think they will find value in our time together.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share with in-house legal marketing professionals before they begin training their attorneys for virtual media interviews?
Keep it short and simple!
The program is being held virtually on September 30, 2020. Click here to register: https://www.legalmarketing.org/e/in/eid=1475