New coaches, General Managers should ditch the prepared remarks

NFL: MAR 03 Scouting Combine
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Friday entailed a couple of virtual press conferences during which new head coaches were introduced. Each one included a key figure who opted to read from prepared remarks.

For the Texans, G.M. Nick Caserio read a statement introducing coach David Culley. In Philadelphia, new Eagles coach Nick Sirianni read from prepared notes.

It didn’t work. It never works. It seems stiff and rigid and robotic and unnatural. It’s no replacement for speaking from the heart, with the words that come to the G.M. or the coach in the moment.

Coaches speak without notes or statements all the time. There’s no reason for a coach — especially when he’s making his first impression to a fan base — to risk turning his press conference into an SNL skit.

And if a crutch is needed (especially for General Managers, who don’t speak publicly as often as coaches do), it doesn’t have to be a book report. Put five key words on a card. Your brain and your mouth will fill in the rest.

More broadly, where are the specialists or consultants who would work with coaches or General Managers to help them create the most effective presentation? These are billion-dollar companies and people who have risen to the highest levels of their chosen professions; the ability to speak effectively should be a given. Notes shouldn’t be needed. Statements definitely aren’t needed.

Besides, it’s not what these folks say as much as how they say it. Yes, certain key subjects may require a specific message, like the quarterback situations in both cities. But if the G.M. or the coach can’t stay on message when speaking to reporters as part of the introductory statement, how can they be expected to stay on message when answering questions?

Indeed, when the question-and-answer portion of the press conference arrives, the coach and/or General Manager answer without a script, without notes, without rehearsal. Why, then, don’t they simply show up in the first place and project a simple and clear opening message that exudes confidence, competence, and conviction?

There’s no magic to it. Keep it simple, keep it clear, keep it authentic. Basically, keep it anything but how it comes off when reading from prepared remarks.

19 responses to “New coaches, General Managers should ditch the prepared remarks

  1. Great take Mike, especially the “More broadly,” part.

    You see it – do teams not employ these people or are the consultants this bad at their job?

  2. So coaches and GM’s should speak from the heart, and not a teleprompter,
    but someone like an elected leader should not? Gotcha. Kinda hypocritical
    I think….

  3. What’s the saying about winning the press conference? They are really meaningless just don’t screw it up affairs. Before this month’s Dan “Kneecap” Campbell’s unscripted intro, the last one I can recall was Barry Switzer’s “I dropped the towel and took the job butt nekkid” comment. To my eternal dismay, I’ve never been able to unsee that! Be careful what you ask for lol.

  4. The GMs are starting to act like politicians. It’s FOOTBALL. It’s suppose to be fun!

  5. My problem is the way we are so anxious to ridicule these folks in those situations. Stage fright and nerves, made worse by the pressure of the situation, are a very real thing that some people have to learn to overcome. Doesn’t mean they won’t be good coaches or GMs. I’ve seen a lot of coaches “win” the news conference and be fired 2 or 3 years later because they can’t win games.

  6. Spoken like someone who talks for a living. It’s easy to say put a few words down as bullet points to elaborate on if your comfortable talking in front of groups but if your not comfortable talking in front of groups those 5 words do absolutely nothing for you and then that’s the coach who repeatedly says “uhhhh” or “ummmmm” while trying to collect his thoughts.

  7. Most importantly, not one game has ever been won or lost because of a press conference. I don’t think you can actually glean anything about a new coach’s probability of future success from his introductory press conference.

  8. Probably the worst advice ever in the Cancel culture society we live in today, Careers lost because a coach offends a marshmellow in the heat of the moment

  9. Shows again how difficult the job of head coach must be. Not everybody enjoys public speaking, many of us know that from personal experience.

    It’s pretty unfair to criticize a guy like this.

  10. “ Besides, it’s not what these folks say as much as how they say it.”

    Lord help us all.

  11. Well we’re in a cancel culture era and with the way the media can present and take quotes out of context it seems very smart of them to do pre-prepared statements that are well crafted. It’s not their job to give the media the clickbait sound bites.

  12. maybe if there weren’t sites like this that make a living picking apart ever word that’s uttered, by player, coach, owner and GM they would not feel the need for prepared remarks.

  13. Man, maybe this is why I’ve never commented. I’m not calling for a person’s job or canceling anyone but I don’t understand being this bad at speaking when much if your job is speaking.

    I think that was Mike’s point and I was asking for more detail, not damning anyone.

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