Why talking points are important

“One who believes that he has mastered the art of horsemanship has not yet begun to understand the horse.” ~ Author Unknown

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just say to producers, “Joe can talk about anything!” or “Alice sure has a lot to say about that topic!” Guess how many bookings we’d get with that approach: ZERO.

Unless you’re Beyoncé or you’ve walked on the surface of Mars, you’re likely one of dozens of experts in your field that producers can choose from when booking a segment that calls for your type of expertise. We know some of you think it’s a chore, but formulating thoughtful talking points is what can really separate you from the pack. They not only help producers mine potential questions for the anchor to ask in the segment, but they also highlight how you’ll fit with the other guest(s) and identify the hottest flashpoints of debate. And the truth is, you’re going to have to say them anyway if you get booked, so you might as well be prepared.

Here’s how to craft your talking points to make producers fall in love:

  •  Most importantly, put the talking points in your own words. Three to five bullets is all you need, but they have to be your own personal insights, gathered from your years of experience in the field. If the average man/woman on the street could offer the same opinion, you’re not digging deep enough. Feel free to be different, contrarian, even controversial… but you must be authentic.
  • Make it personal. Use your experience to provide context or highlight the angle that hasn’t been talked about yet.
  •  Think in sound bites – give them a good zinger line that will grab their attention. If you hold back your best thoughts because you’d rather say them on air, you may not get the chance.
  • Put the story in a unique perspective, draw a historical comparison, or move the story forward with new information.
  • Take a firm stand. You don’t have to be way out there on the fringe, but you can’t be in the mushy middle either.

Timing is important too. Producers usually cast a wide net for guests and if you take too long to respond, you risk them going with someone who got back to them more quickly.

If you need help in this area, creating killer talking points is among the valuable things we teach in our media training program. We’d love to provide you with the producer’s eye view of how to get booked again and again.

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