“Turn to the person next to you and say, ‘Give it to me, baby, uh-huh, uh-huh.’”
That’s the mantra of Shawne Duperon’s highly popular Media Mastery Boot Camp, where people are schooled on lucrative commercial marketing while learning the ropes of broadcast TV. In yet another propitious late fall appearance at Lawrence Institute of Technology’s Southfield campus, Duperon recently coached the business community on managing internal fear and grasping the cycle of reciprocity to take members where they want to go.
It’s all about communications, baby, and Duperon is an expert in that realm. She teaches the quintessential networking class that’s as much geared to intense examination of media as to effectively promoting every aspect of business.
The self-described gossip guru (she’s earning a PhD in it, she says) centers on the theme “What are you broadcasting?” to determine errors made in social and professional presentations. That varies from recognizing the “party masks” that publically belie our weaknesses and sell us short to ably introducing ourselves in pitches suited to short intervals and successful encapsulation.
Similar in approach to Duperon’s Networking for Neanderthals class, the boot camp is longer and more intense, encompassing two 9-to-5 days. She forces people to dig down and find their passion, key into that enthusiasm, then convey it meaningfully when approaching others, especially other professionals who can help parlay that passion into a secure financial future. Like through broadcast television.
The former WDIV-TV Channel 4 journalist won six Emmy awards during her television years, but now she brings to others the expertise of knowing media and how to use it effectively.
She left that aspect of her career after discovering a niche that needed filling: “I met so many people who were extraordinary at what they do, but they really stunk when it came to marketing. Whether you have the best event, not-for-profit, or you’re the best candidate for a job, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to market. The best marketer wins.”
Class members included entrepreneurs, established professionals for educational and social institutions and most aspects of retail hopefuls, many of whom are reinventing themselves after layoffs or retirements. They were all eager to be propelled farther, soaking up advice and the overall experience.
A recent Forbes article, appearing through LinkedIn, offered good reason for businesses to sit up and take notice of the value of media, ads and good publicity in general. Analysis at financial info company Sageworks, Inc. tracks an average sales increase of 11 percent during the past 12 months for privately-owned ad agencies, public relations firms, media buyers and other ad/media concerns.
It’s the second recovery year for that industry, following a 2009 drop of almost 7 percent as advertising took a spending bite during the recession.
Duperon takes her class enrollees through a series of exercises to distinguish weaknesses and build on strengths. She explains the importance of using social media — like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook — and stresses setting business people in the enviable position as expert spokespeople, sought out by media for news stories. There is emphasis on mastering email, preparing press releases, reaching the correct powers-that-be, and being interviewed meaningfully to promote a business as well as the credibility of the person behind it.
“There’s a natural biology in wanting to connect,” she said. “And with 67 percent of homes having a TV on at all times and more people than ever watching the news, it’s important to harness this part of communication.”
The first day of class is spent on preparation for the second, for which she provides television lighting, cameras and the broadcast experience for valid media occurrences. Duperon loosens up the class and shows how to sit, speak and properly emote for a television audience. She does that through vignettes where she literally dances with each member to convey the give-and-take rhythm of the media experience. What results is a noticeable difference in first-camera attempts and revised finalizations that are enough to warn off any rookie from flying alone in professional meet-ups, interviews or similar exploits.
Practice makes perfect, and Duperon is out to make awkward professionals a thing of the past. She wants each business owner – from the multi-millionaire to non-profits – to be able to collectively put a best foot forward.
One brave soul who ventured before the camera was “The Pond Guy” Greg Wittstock of Aquascape, Inc. Although his initial attempt at a 30-second commercial was not bad, his revised version keyed into the passion of how much he loved his wife, which Duperon transitioned into words to sell people on his million-dollar corporation. It was a winner.
Besides the classes, she offers a series of CDs covering all potential areas of concern in business failure or bungling, and weighs in on subjects from legal landmines to mastering computer techniques, like search engine optimization.
“I teach with an accelerated learning style that has you look at things differently; I show up and start rocking and rolling – everything is energy,” Duperon said. “My mantra is (that) a new perception can alter your destiny.”
For more information, go to www.shawnetv.com or call (877) 759-4599.
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