“Dancing” with the Media

I’m a big fan of Tom Bergeron.  The host of “Dancing with the Stars” is a great model for anyone who wants to succeed in dealing with the media.  Why?  Because he is both entertaining AND credible.  Those two qualities are like a magnet for bookers, producers and reporters…they can’t get enough of those kinds of people for interviews.  You want to be one of them. But it’s not easy balancing entertainment and credibility.  How does Bergeron do it?

First, he pays attention to what’s happening on the show and goes “off the script” to cleverly comment on the proceedings (oftentimes expressing the exact same thing the audience is thinking).  For example, in this year’s finale, former contestant Pamela Anderson performed a sultry dance number wearing thigh-high boots.  After she finished, Bergeron quipped:  “Usually to see something like that there’s a 2 drink minimum.”  Funny but also smart.  He didn’t get out of his host role for a cheap laugh, he worked within it.  Entertaining.

Second, while he’s a solid “team player” for the show and ABC, he isn’t afraid to be objective and talk about something that might not put the show in the best light.   He’s hardly a cheerleader when it appears the wrong couple got voted out or after an especially stinging comment from the judges.  Perhaps his best moment came in 2006 when contestant Sara Evans left the show amid news of a nasty breakup with her husband.  Bergeron’s later interview of Evans was compassionate but not fluff…a serious look at the news when it would have been easy to play it safe for the show.  Credible.

When you get an opportunity to talk with the media, make sure to keep in mind the need to be both entertaining and credible.  That doesn’t mean you need to be a sitcom comedian or Supreme Court judge, just someone people will want to watch/listen to/read about…and someone they’ll believe and trust.    If you do that, the media will want to be dancing with you!

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