CAWP

Chris Jahnke prepares women candidates at the Center for American Women in Politics “Ready to Run” training

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you help me?

Answer: Positive Communications specializes in helping people from all walks of life prepare for all types of public appearances. If you are a beginner we will help you get started. If you've got some experience we'll show you how to ratchet up your skills. If you're an old pro we'll make sure you haven't developed any bad habits and that you're looking good in the world of new media.

All Training Sessions Are Custom Tailored

When a training session is scheduled, the first thing we do is a "pre-training analysis" of your speaking style and message content. We ask you to send us video clips of speeches, interviews, presentations, etc. We would like to read background materials such as speeches, message documents, issue papers, and related media coverage.

After we've gotten to know something about you and your goals we will develop an agenda for the training session. We work hard to make sure the training is a good fit for your needs. Everyone is different and we will give you an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

What type of services do you offer?

Answer: Positive Communications is a full-service communications training firm. We offer the full range of training services for every type of public appearance.

  • Media training for all news media interviews:  print; broadcast; and on-line.
  • Public speaking coaching for beginners and folks who've been at it for awhile.  Executive presentation training is designed for senior executives and top management.
  • Debate preparation for political candidates and anybody who's going on talk radio or cable television talk shows.
  • Message Development for clear, concise, compelling messages targeted to your key audience.
  • Speechwriting services for the first draft or final polishing.
  • Crisis response training to prepare for the unexpected.
  • Political communications for candidates at all levels seeking elected office.

What if I need to prepare for a television interview?

Answer: Positive Communications can help you.  We will walk you through everything you need to know about dealing with reporters, handling questions, getting your message across, and presenting yourself.  We specialize in helping our clients develop media savvy message strategies and quote-able quotes.  We will help you get ready for that sit-down with The New York Times, phone call with Politico, in-studio appearance on The Today Show, edited interview with the local tv station, talk show on National Public Radio, or your next webcast.

All training includes on-camera practice so you will learn how to field questions and deflect any negatives.  You will learn how to present yourself in every situation and we will give you on the insider tips for television including how to sit, where to look, and what to wear.  The on-camera practice of mock interviews will give you a chance to hone your message articulation and delivery skills.

Can you help our CEO or Executive Director?

Answer: Yes, Positive Communications Executive Presentation Training is probably just what you are looking for.  We have 18 years of experience working with senior leaders in business, government, and the nonprofit sector.

Our clients have found it productive for us give frank advice to senior executives about their presentation style.  We can provide a fresh perspective and deliver it in a constructive, non-challenging way.  We will work with the internal communications team to develop a plan for working with the high level executive.

The first step is the "pre-training analysis" of the executive's speaking style. Prior to any scheduled training we will review video clips of speeches, interviews, presentations and background material to establish goals and develop a strategy for the training. This allows us to hit the ground running so we maximize the time with the executive.

We can provide special training sessions specifically focused on more advanced skills, including: teleprompter technique, in-studio and satellite news interviews, and speech writing.

Follow-up trainings and on-going advice are an important component of the initial training session. We are always ready to review any presentations and give written feedback. There are no overnight successes. The most success presenters develop and polish their skills over time.

How do I schedule a training session?

Answer: It is easy to schedule a session with Positive Communications. We are flexible and can help you be ready even on short notice.  We are based in Washington, DC but regularly travel all around the country and around the globe to meet with our clients. So, we can come to you.

All trainings are custom tailored to each client's specific needs. Perhaps you only need a half-day tune up. Or, you would like a more intensive full-day or two-day session that provides time for message development as well as on-camera practice.

With some clients we work on a monthly retainer. We also present workshops at conferences, conventions, and large meetings.

Contact us and we'll design the training program that is right for you.

Can you help me write a speech?

Answer: Yes, at Positive Communications we have nearly 20 years of experience helping clients with speechwriting and message development. The first step is to give us a call so that we can assess your needs.  Is this a first draft? Are we coordinating with other writers? Or, do you just need some final polishing? We would also like to analyze any prior speeches to get a good sense of the speaker's writing and speaking style.

We often work with clients to develop the text of the speech.  We will show you how to make sure the final draft is a tool that works for the speaker and doesn't distract from their ability to deliver the speech well.  We can help you decide how to format the speech whether it should be a full text, an outline, PowerPoint slides, or key words.

At Positive Communications we also provide introductory speech writing workshops for small groups. We will cover the fundamentals of developing a speech outline with special emphasis on the two most important parts of any presentation—the beginning and the end.  We will help you prepare a text that is tailored to your audience and memorable.  Learn how to develop a clear, concise writing style that will inspire, motivate, even challenge the audience.

Good speech writing is about understanding the difference between writing for the eye versus writing for the ear. We will show you the skills to improve your writing style.

How does the training work?

Answer: All trainings are custom tailored to each client's specific needs. Perhaps you only need a half-day tune up. Or, you would like a more intensive full-day or two-day session that provides more time for strategic message development as well as on-camera practice. With some clients we work on a monthly retainer. We also present workshops at conferences, conventions, and annual meetings.Every client is unique and we will develop a training program that is right for you.

The first thing we will do is a "pre-training analysis" of your speaking style and message content. We ask that you send us video clips of speeches, interviews, presentations, any public appearances. We would like to read background materials such as speeches, message documents, issue papers and the like.

After we've gotten to know something about you we will develop an agenda for the training session. We work hard to make sure the training is a good fit for your needs. Everyone is different and we will give you an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

Contact us and we'll design the training program that is right for you.

Do you have advice for women candidates?

Answer: Positive Communications President and Founder Christine K. Jahnke has probably more experience working with women candidates than any other speech and debate coach in the country. 1992 was the "year of the woman" in American politics and Chris Jahnke was there providing media training and speech coaching for many women who ran and won that election cycle. And every election cycle since. In 2008, she was a womens advisor to Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign and a debate coach to winning women governors in Washington and North Carolina.

Chris has provided her training expertise to the Center for American Women and Politics, Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Emily's List, Illinois Women's Leadership Institute, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, National Women's Political Caucus, The Stennis Center, WAND/Will, Women's Campaign Forum, and Voters for Choice.

Give us a call we would be thrilled to help you with your stump speech, new media interviews, and/or debate preparation. We can also work with you on appropriate attire and appearance so you are camera ready.

How much does it cost?

Answer: The training cost is based on the number of trainees and the length of the training session. Most frequently we are working with individuals or small groups in half-day, full-day, or two-day sessions. We also provide workshops at conferences, conventions, and annual meetings. For some of our clients we work on a monthly retainer.

Contact us and we can give you specific rate information.

Where does the training take place?

Answer: We are based in Washington, DC and have training facilities here but most often we travel to our clients so scheduling is easier for you. We conduct all types of training all around the country and the globe. So, we can come to you.

It is super easy to schedule a session with Positive Communications. We are flexible and can help you be ready even on short notice. All trainings are custom tailored to each client's specific needs. Perhaps you only need a half-day tune up. Or, you would like a more intensive full-day session or two-day session that provides more time for strategic message development as well as on-camera practice. We also present workshops at conferences, conventions, and annual meetings.

Contact us and we'll design the training program that is right for you.

How can I contact you?

Answer: We are based in Washington, DC, and welcome the opportunity to discuss our communications training services with you. Visit our contact page

Who are your clients?

Answer: At Positive Communications we've had the opportunity to work with many wonderful clients over the past 18 years. Every client is unique and we will work with you to develop the training program that meets your needs. See our representative client list

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