Interview with Megan Meany, MEGA Media
How can renewable energy companies & professionals level up their marketing communications? In this Green Light episode, Catherine spoke with Megan Meany, a seasoned broadcast journalist who has worked for NBC, CBS, CNN & FOX about elevating pitch & presentation skills; finding the optimal use of industry jargon & data; & how to crush it on camera. They also spoke about the need to hone in on essentialism as well as the power of good storytelling for any audience.
Megan’s experience is unique in that she has worked for major TV networks as well as several Fortune 500 companies, including SAP, AT&T & Kohler, as she deeply understands the communication weaknesses within corporations & how they can be improved. Megan hosts & executive produces digital events; teaches virtual master classes for women; & offers private 1:1 communication coaching. You can get in touch with Megan directly via LinkedIn or through her website (www.megamedia.co).
Catherine: Hi, I’m Catherine McLean, Founder and CEO of Dylan Green. And today I have with me, Megan Meany, MEGA Media Consulting and she’s joining me from New York today. So, for those of you who don’t know, can you introduce yourself and tell us about your current role?
Megan: Sure. So as you said, I am the founder of Mega Media Consulting so I help large global brands and individuals, to be more engaging communicators and so my services fall under Communication coaching masterclasses I also host and executive produced digital events for corporate and I have a particular interest in supporting women in these areas and also an expertise in on camera communications.
Catherine: You’ve had two careers, first TV and then corporate communication ends. Tell us a little bit about that transition and how it inspired your business Mega Media Consulting.
Megan: So I have spent more than 20 years working in television both as a producer and a broadcast journalist. I still appear on morning TV once a month. And about seven years ago, I decided to try something new and I moved into corporate communications in marketing, supporting SAP and then First Data a FinTech with storytelling, video content, and more engaging material then the sort of epically boring storytelling that exists in b2b. So, what I realized when I made that transition was there is this default in corporate there is a communication weakness kind of across the board which is that things tend to be long winded, and they don’t have to be.
Catherine: So I love your tagline “meh To MEGA” Yeah. What’s consider ‘meh’ and what’s considered ‘MEGA’ ?
Megan: As I’ve just been describing, ‘meh’ is dry, it’s long winded, its marketing speak sounding like a robot. MEGA is being engaging, it’s focused, it’s human. It’s digestible, consumable.
Catherine: What’s the first step towards elevating presentation or pitch skills to MEGA?
Megan: The first step is to think coffee shop, not conference room. How would you talk to a friend over coffee? That’s the exact tone that you want when you go into a business pitch. And you can use a visualization tool like that. Or you’re on camera or in person, you can always imagine that your mother or your best friend is in the room and that will pull you back into that conversational tone.
Catherine: The renewable energy industry has a lot of jargon and acronyms. What do you think’s the best communication approach when you’re addressing an industry audience?
Megan: Well, what I would say to that is just because your industry has a lot of jargon or acronyms, it doesn’t mean that you have to load your presentation with them. It’s okay in moderation to use some technical terms, but what your audience really expects is to just be given something of value and for you to deliver that and for you to engage them. And I think there’s a misconception that people have if I don’t use technical terms with a technical audience, and I’m not on message but you can still be business smart. And use digestible consumable language.
Catherine: Another MEGA tip is not to present information. What do you mean by that?
Megan: What I mean by that is whenever you’re getting organized for your presentation on camera or in person, you really don’t want to think about having to relay information to your audience. You want to think about telling a story. Stories engage us, stories break through all the noise that’s out there. If you’re citing facts and figures and McKinsey report after McKinsey Report, your audience is not going to absorb all of that. If anything they’re going to remember maybe one or two of those numbers or stats. So that’s to tell a story. What’s the story? It has a beginning, a middle and an end. A great structure for a story if you’re organizing content is typically late to your audience’s problem or pain points right at the top of the story, the beginning of the story. And then in the middle, you want to be offering some solutions or value that you’re bringing to them. And the end of the story should be some sort of call to action about what you want them to do when you’re done presenting. So it is not hard to organize the story and stories also lend themselves to more natural delivery, right that people tell stories at a dinner party, right they know right where to start. They know the juicy details to include their voice rises and falls. This is what we want to do in business.
Catherine: It’s such a good point. I never thought of it like that. But you’re absolutely right. So another strategy you mentioned as well from your make it MEGA method is essentialism. Can you describe what that is?
Megan: I can. So to be an essentialist is the disciplined pursuit of less so it’s the idea that more is a misconception. Less is better. Do you know who Marie Kondo is?
Catherine: Yes. I’m very OCD.
Megan: For those who don’t know her and she encourages people to, you know, take things out of their drawers and closets that aren’t necessary and leave only what’s inspiring. So I suggest that you sort of Marie Kondo your content and by that I mean weed out your words and leave only what’s inspiring. So essentialism, just hearing the word can be really curative, particularly for people in the corporate world because workprint by default, as I said at the beginning of our interview, tends to be too complicated and deep dive on everything. You look at everything with an essentialist lens and really decide what are the two or three key messages here? And what is essential to relay. Your customers know where to go to get more information. You should always be sort of focusing on the movie trailer version. That’s essentialism. It’s less is more.
Catherine: Right, right. I can imagine if you people in corporate did that more, there would be more time.
Megan: Ye! The input disease in corporate, conference calls, right, but not a lot of output. So listen, it’s changed management. It’s not the norm. So it’s scary for people to simplify. But everybody wants time back, this day. We’re inundated because of the information age with emails and zooms and all sorts of social media. And so imagine if we all just woke up every day and remembered this essentialist idea and we just had tighter emails, right? Because how many emails have you scanned and not read, because you don’t have time, that we don’t get a little time back and the other point I want to make is that human attention span is eight seconds. So long winded is long gone. You really want to keep things concise.
Catherine: I also find, especially with emails, people have always made fun of me because my emails are like very very brief. But I feel like if somebody wants more information, then they’ll respond and be like, Oh, XYZ and then I could give them that information. Most of the time, they don’t actually ask.
Megan: So good for you. You’re part of it. You’re part of the change.
Catherine: So I guess my last question is everyone has to communicate on camera these days. Whether it’s video conference presentation, digital events, social media, what are three tips for crushing it on camera?
Megan: Okay, the first is Be natural. Now I know that sounds hard. You don’t need to be the evening news anchor and you don’t need, as we said earlier, to be super corporate and professional. You need to be you. It’s not about some people have executive presence on camera and some don’t. There’s nothing you need to become. You are already here. Be your authentic self. What kind of leader do you want to be? What kind of delivery do you want to have? People want the real you so that’s number one. The second thing is content prep can have so much to do with setting yourself up for success on camera. So if you are coming to camera with a bunch of notes or you have a long presentation or somebody else in say executive comms prepared some material for you. Yeah, there are things to keep in mind number one, and I’ve been saying it all along and it’s part of the essentialism thing, keep it short. You’re not doing yourself any favors by preparing something that’s really long to remember. Number two, you want to talk to your audience. When you’re on camera. You don’t want to read it’s disconnected to look away or to be relying on notes. And if you keep it short, it’s going to be easier to remember if you tell a story like we’ve also been talking about that’s also easier to remember right bulleting it right not scripting it just knowing your key messages and trusting yourself to be intuitive in the moment to fill in the rest of the words. And really making sure that it’s in your voice reading it out loud again, if someone else prepared it for you is this the way you would explain it to somebody in the coffee shop? So pay attention to content prep so much can be done before you get on camera. Other tips: watch your nonverbals. Okay, so 70 to 90% of your message getting through on camera has to do with what your body’s doing. So if you’re touching your hair, or spinning in your chair, or not looking at the camera, these are disconnected things you are less honest, you look look less comfortable with your subject matter. So you really have to pay attention to those little things as well. And what else can I tell you about getting on camera?
Catherine: Does it ever get easier?
Megan: Yes, as with any new behavior, it’s all about practice. So don’t expect to get comfortable overnight. I’ve been doing this for a long time. And actually I’m glad you brought that up because you’re bringing up a mindset which is also a really important part of preparing to deliver on camera.Because how you feel going in is going to be 80% of how well you do. You do want to do a system check and scan your thoughts. Do you have any negative thought loops running through your head before you jump on? I’m not good at this. I don’t look good on camera. This may; I have spotlight fright. If any of that is going on, you definitely want to call out that negative thought and just reframe it to something more helpful and not to repeat it over and over again. Right we can’t do the thought work hack once overnight and we’re cured. It is practice just like being on camera is practice.
Catherine: Well, thank you so much for that again. I really appreciate it. I think that a lot of people in the clean energy and renewable energy industry will find this like super useful and it’s just so people know if they want to reach out to you how do they do that?
Megan: So they can go to my website and megamedia.co. You can drop me an email there on the contact page. I am actually offering free consultations to anyone that has any pitch or presentation coming up or just want some support with communication. I’m happy to talk to them. And there’s also a free video there on the homepage. You can hit the free tips button and they will get a free video full of my MEGA tips and I’m on LinkedIn at Megan Meany , and MEGA Media Consulting on Instagram.
Catherine: Great, thank you so much for your time.
Megan: You’re welcome. Thanks for talking to me.