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.


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Speak with Greater Poise, Power, and Persuasion

Daniel Webster, one of America’s greatest statesmen and orators, said: “If I were to lose all of my possessions except one, I would keep the power of communication–for by it I would soon regain all of the rest.

You can agree to that statement easily. In your business, professional, and civic life, you have noticed that those who can speak with “poise, power, and persuasion” will be more likely to:
–Get hired from among many applicants
–Earn promotions to upper level management
–Become CEOs
–Provide dynamic team leadership
–Assume leadership roles in prominent community organizations
–Enjoy a level of self-confidence that even improves their social life

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is well aware of these and other advantages that compelling speakers enjoy. That’s why the Chamber leaders join me in inviting you to the Small Business Success Seminar I’ll direct at the Chamber office on Tuesday, September 14. The seminar’s title:

“How to Control Your Stage Fright–and Speak with Poise, Power, and Persuasion”

As a full-time professional speaker and Speech Coach since 1997, I have learned strategies that will help you:
–Reduce your stage fright. . .replace panic with poise
–Learn the best methods of preparation and delivery
–Use humor tastefully
–Replace boring statistics with captivating stories
–Avoid “Death by Power Point”
–Understand why the speaker holds the “trump card”
–Radically change your view of audiences
–Forget perfection, strive for professionalism

The Greater Hall Chamber joins me in encouraging you to register right away. Here are the details you need:

Small Business Seminar Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce
9/14/2010 7:45 AM   Price: $Free for members, $15 non members

Small Business Success Seminar
“How to Speak with Power, Poise & Persuasion” by Bill Lampton Ph.D.

Contact Information
Brittany Holtzclaw
770 532 6206 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              770 532 6206      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              770 532 6206      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Yes, I am very eager to assist you. For more information about my qualifications to serve as your Speech Coach on September 14, please visit my Web site: