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Authentic experts win all the time

After facilitating fifteen #MeetTheMedia events across the country over the past four years, I’ve noticed that there’s one particular trait of experts that leads to them exceeding expectations, both their own and ours. And that trait is authenticity – the ones that really get it, and are understood by the media, are authentic experts. What does that mean? An authentic expert is not one waving their arms around and shouting “look-at-me”. Instead, an authentic expert practices what they preach, they are confident in their knowledge and ability to communicate it and they don’t have to employ the hard-sell for their expertise. They are the true and real subject matter experts.

Our first Sydney #MeetTheMedia in 2015 brought together an outstanding group of experts and media. The panel included Ben Cubby from the Sydney Morning Herald, Alan Kohler of the ABC and Erin Bouda, a producer at the time with Nine’s Today show, now Chief of Staff. Erin was the middle panellist between Alan and Ben, two much more seasoned and experienced journalists. All three delivered beautifully and gave so much to the audience of subject matter experts. After that panel ended, a budding relationship expert approached Erin, and did something unexpected. She didn’t force her expertise on her or pitch a yarn. Instead, the relationship expert’s approach to Erin was a reassuring and heartfelt comment “Well done, I saw you were nervous but you did very well.”

That relationship expert is a regular on Channel Nine these days and hasn’t looked back since that encounter four years ago. After that first authentic connection was made, they both embarked on a very exciting media journey together. Erin to this day, still vividly recalls that experience and there no doubt a real bond was formed between the two that we were proud to facilitate.

So what’s the takeaway? If you give your honest and authentic self to the media, the stories and yarns will follow. Despite initially appearing a little aloof at times, the media connect on a human level like all of us. Yes, the media wants a story but they also need a human and trusted performer to deliver that story. I am not saying don’t bring the story. The story is the transaction that we’re all involved in day to day. What I am saying is put some of yourself into the story as well, and you’ll become part of a more attractive and authentic picture.

Nicholas Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable… #MeetTheMedia Adelaide is on October 23. Tickets via Eventbrite.

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