Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Think Before You Speak

The other day I was reading in a music industry publication a quote from a well-known and very successful recording artist.  The quote really struck me with the reaction of, "Why would you say that (in that way)?  Did you think at all before speaking?"

Now, maybe I'm the only one who questioned the real meaning behind the quote, but the way it was worded made me wonder about all of this artist's work up to this point.  No matter how others took it, a seasoned artist experienced in conducting interviews and promoting his or her own music should know to word his or her thought a little more carefully.

What was the quote?  It was in reference to the artist's latest album:  "My new album is the most honest and authentic album I've ever recorded."  While this comment may initially seem innocent enough, it leaves me (and probably many others) wondering if all the artist's previous albums were just phony and disingenuous.

To my clients I coach for media interviews, take this as an example of what not to say.  There are ways to say the same thing without leaving the audience with a question mark looming over their heads.  For instance, say something to the effect of, "This new album really represents who I am at this point in my life," or, "This new album feels like a second skin to me."

While I tell my clients that you can't over-think your responses in an interview because in the end you still have to be yourself (or you will seem phony), there are times when it's good to edit yourself.  This is easier when putting something in writing than in spoken words which often come quicker than we can control, so a good place to think before you speak is in tweets.  Saying the wrong thing in a tweet (or an email or a Facebook post, etc.) cannot be taken back, and we've seen a lot of artists make the mistake of doing so.  In fact, all of us can probably think of more than one time when we've said something that came out all wrong, whether it was intentional or unintentional.

When possible (whether writing or speaking), consider what you're saying and how it may come across to others.  Developing this practice will endear you to your fans, the industry, and the media.  And that's something we can start working on now through media coaching so this practice will come more natural to you when it really counts!

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