10MM Practicing Sound Bites
By Jack Winders.
We’ve had him before and we are lucky to have him with us again. The 10 Minute Multitask welcomes back West Hollywood based freelance director, Uri Gal-Ed who joined us on an earlier episode to discuss a skill he believes every representative of a brand, team or company should know and practice: Speaking in sound bites.
For those who may not have had a chance to check out his first episode, Uri defines a sound bite as “An idea that you can convey, in a very short amount of time, and with very few words, but still have a beginning, middle and end so your audience gets to know your point of view, how you feel about something or something they didn’t know before.”
While his first appearance on the 10MM focused on the value that giving a quality sound bite can bring to your organization and two general rules of a good sound bite (under 20 seconds and contain a clear beginning, middle and end), in this episode Uri acted as Andrew’s ‘sound bite coach’ and shared some valuable pointers along the way.
Before diving into Uri’s coaching, Andrew Young (host of the 10MM) figured it would be necessary to hear what a good sound bite, sounds like. Responding to Andrew’s question regarding LA’s Current weather, Uri said, “It’s hot, it’s sunny, it’s fantastic and it makes me feel alive.” With a beginning, middle, end and under 20 seconds, his answer can stand alone and be used again in future broadcasts, which is exactly what you want if you are seeking publicity.
With a example of a quality sound bite fresh in our minds, Uri assumed the role of interviewer and floated some questions Andrew’s way. “What is this podcast and who is your audience?” asks Uri. “Our podcast is called the 10 Minute Multitask and it’s designed to be something people can listen to in 10 minutes while they are having a cup of coffee or while they’re on the treadmill. It gives them tangible, hands-on experiences and insight on how to grow their business and their brand,” answers Andrew. While Andrew’s answer did not raise any red flags from Uri, it did bring up a term closely related to sound bites and one that you have probably heard before: The elevator pitch.
“A great way to look at a good sound bite or a good quote for print is your elevator pitch,” Uri says. In under 20 seconds, Andrew was able to provide the the name of the podcast, the content, who the intended audience is and how it brings value to the listeners. Hitting both of the criteria for a quality sound bite, Andrew provided both a quality elevator pitch as well as a sound bite that could easily be re-broadcast if this were a news segment.
With no changes necessary with the first answer, Uri says, “Tell me about your agency and the kind of work you do.” “I represent an agency called Abovo, and we specialize in marketing and design that is engaging and interactive,” says Andrew. “We know that the current consumer, the millennial consumer that’s becoming very powerful, are online. So how do you build relationships with people that you never get to see? That’s what we help companies do.” While satisfied with the contents of the answer, Uri suggests switching the order to give the the response “More of an arc”, bringing you to “A conclusion that will make the listener go, ‘Oh’.” With Uri’s advice, Andrew was able to switch the order of his answer by first describing the challenges faced by businesses in an online, digital world, and then bringing his answer to a natural conclusion through an explanation of what Abovo does to help those business build relationships and interactive spaces.
As the clock gets ever closer to the 10 minute limit, Uri has time to touch on one more tactic that can help you “save face” in the case that you are on air and asked a question you weren’t prepared for. “The art of spin,” as Uri dubbed it, is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal and has the ability to save an entire interview if things don’t go exactly as expected. “When you know you’re going to be on, you should know what you want to say. If the question you are asked has nothing to do with that, you need to steer it and drive it back home to where you are comfortable and talk about that,” he explains. For example, if Andrew were on a live broadcast with the goal of explaining what Abovo is and does, but was asked “What is great about owning a business in Fargo?”, then the goal would be to spin the answer so Andrew can still talk about what he had planned, while still kind of answering the question. An answer along the lines of “Owning a business in Fargo is great because it is lively, established, etc., my agency does x, y, and z,” would allow him to get the most out of the interview while dealing with questions unrelated to his goals for the segment.
In a world every day becoming more digital, it is no secret that information spreads like wildfire. With a (good or bad) sound bite having the same potential for reaching the masses, knowing how to provide quality, usable sound bites is a great asset and can certainly help grow your brand. Even if you are certain you won’t be appearing on a news segment, having a solid elevator pitch in your back pocket is essential. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself on ABC World News pitching your brand, and you’ll be thankful to have a sound bite polished and ready to go.