Fired Coach Richt Shows How to Handle a Press Conference

ATHENS UNITED STATES: October 19 2014. An early fall morning sees the sun rise over a beloved stadium in football country
ATHENS UNITED STATES: October 19 2014. An early fall morning sees the sun rise over a beloved stadium in football country

Normally my Monday morning activities would not include watching a streaming press conference on my iPad. Usually my to-do list demands that I complete projects already underway or start new ones. Today was different though. As a Speech Coach, I wanted to see how Mark Richt responded to questions during his press conference one day after the University of Georgia fired him as head football coach, ending his days in Sanford Stadium, pictured above.

Brief background: Richt came to Georgia fifteen years ago after a long apprenticeship under Florida State’s Bobby Bowden. Richt’s first few years at the helm satisfied fans, university officials, and donors, as he won games against respected opponents and occasional conference championships.

However, Georgia’s football fortunes waned. Though Richt’s won-loss percentage was superb, his teams could not defeat highly ranked opponents consistently, or even make respectable showings. So yesterday Athletic Director Greg McGarity and President Jere Morehead thanked Richt for his service, commended his character, and terminated his coaching career at Georgia. Additionally, they scheduled a press conference for 10:00 a.m. today.

Next time my clients ask my advice about what to say and how to behave in a press conference, I will describe Mark Richt’s superlative performance–specifically these five points:

ONE: He expressed no bitterness.
The knee-jerk reaction of someone who has been told very publicly that their work was not productive enough would be to lash out with anger. Yet Richt’s first comments centered around thanking the university for the support that fans, students, the band, the cheerleaders, and his players gave him from the outset. He added: “Gosh, even being chosen for this position was amazing enough.”

TWO: He restated his mission.
Asked “What has been the accomplishment you’re proudest of?”
he did not describe a big victory, a bowl appearance, or a championship. He answered: “My biggest accomplishment has been helping boys turn into men, so they will become good citizens, husbands, and fathers.”

THREE: He offered no excuses.
Fired coaches do that sometimes. “The media reps were out to get me.” “We lost our best player to injury early in the season.” “We were just three plays away from winning our division.” Avoiding excuses, Richt accepted total responsibility for the team’s decline.

FOUR: His nonverbal messages mirrored his positive words.
Coach Richt appeared calm, poised, totally in control of his emotions. Viewers could not detect sorrow or resentment. Occasionally, he smiled and even chuckled. He kept eye contact with questioners and even with McGarity, the man who instigated Richt’s dismissal.

FIVE: He ignored political correctness while defining his future.
Political correctness would have prompted him to make safe or bland statements. Quite the opposite happened. Richt talked about his deep personal religious faith, saying unashamedly that divine help and guidance would help him select the best choice for his life and career.

NOTE: While all five of these points might not match what you will need to do and say during a pressure-packed press conference, Coach Mark Richt’s demeanor, statements, and responses will help you perform admirably when you face the media during a career crisis.

RESPOND WITH YOUR COMMENTS

I will welcome your comments. Click the comments link above the video.

GET DAILY COMMUNICATION TIPS AND STRATEGIES FROM MY FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE

Here’s the link to my Facebook business page:
http://bit.ly/iRv6EA
You’ll find beneficial guidelines for business communication and for speaking with “poise, power, and persuasion.” Click “Like” to stay connected for updates.

Working with the Media During Your Company’s Public Crisis

The video above issues my invitation to work with your organization on site–to prepare you for dealing with the media constructively during your company’s public crisis situation. As you note, I encourage you to call me today, so we can discus when I will come to your organization to provide this vital training.

Call me: 678-316-4300

Also, here are other resources that will help you cooperate with media representatives more productively:

ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR DEALING WITH THE MEDIA DURING A CRISIS

http://ezinearticles.com/?Essential-Steps-for-Dealing-With-the-Media-During-a-Crisis&id=8567756

HOW TO WRITE PRESS RELEASES THAT GET MEDIA ATTENTION
http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/release.htm

BECOME THE IDEAL RADIO OR TV GUEST

http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/tvradioguest.htm

SELF DEFENSE TACTICS OF POLITICAL SPEAKERS
http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/political.htm

BREAK INTO PRINT WITH LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
http://ezinearticles.com/?Break-Into-Print-With-Letters-to-the-Editor&id=2028721

CNN ANCHOR’S ADVICE ABOUT SPEAKING
http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/conversational.htm

ENDORSEMENT FOR MY MEDIA TRAINING SEMINAR
Shortly after I directed my seminar–“How to Work with the Media During a Crisis”–participant Margie Asef wrote this:

Bill’s informative seminar provided a rich array of ideas and resources to prepare for media communications during a “never-invited” crisis. I hope I’ll never have to use any of the skill set, but I’m better prepared if I do. Thanks Bill!margieasef
Margie Asef, Community Relations Manager,
Greater Atlanta Christian School

RESPOND WITH YOUR COMMENTS
I will welcome your comments. Click the comments link above the video.

GET DAILY COMMUNICATION TIPS AND STRATEGIES FROM MY FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE

Here’s the link to my Facebook business page:
http://bit.ly/iRv6EA

You’ll find beneficial guidelines for business communication and for speaking with “poise, power, and persuasion.” Click “Like” to stay connected for updates.