The programme, held in the run-up to the Total BWF World Championships, was conceptualised to help players communicate better with media, thereby building their own profile and that of the sport. All the top countries, including Japan, Indonesia, China and Denmark, attended the session. The programme, divided into easy-to-follow modules, was presented by BWF Commercial & Communications Director Owen Leed (left) and Communications Manager Gayle Alleyne (below; left).
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer and BWF Athletes’ Commission Chair Yuhan Tan welcomed the players and spoke of how important it was for badminton players to communicate better. Høyer recalled his meeting with Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, at the recent IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur.
“Sorrell basically talked of the importance of new media, with people using mobile devices instead of television. For players, it is about using all channels, to be able to express themselves to fans and sponsors. I feel one needs education in this area. The youth are familiar with new media, but it’s a matter of tickling them to use it, to give them the curiosity to use these platforms.”
Yuhan Tan (BWF home page) was appreciative of BWF’s efforts to educate players.
The modules in the programme dealt with facets of media interaction such as attentiveness and body language; interview tips; the use of phrases in English or the local language to establish a rapport with the press and fans; fulfilling the expectations of sponsors; being aware of how personal conduct influences sponsorship; getting to know what fans want and expect, and how the players stand to benefit from better communication.
Players were given brochures with easy-to-remember points that can help promote themselves, their sponsors and the sport. The presenters emphasised the importance of players putting themselves in the shoes of their fans and realising that people sought to understand their personality traits. However, the players were also cautioned on the dangers of new media, since a ‘personal’ post or tweet could easily become public.
Japan head coach Park Joo Bong was all praise for the initiative.
“It’s good that BWF has conducted this programme. In fact, we are also thinking of conducting similar programmes for Japanese players on the national circuit, so that they become aware of how to talk to the media,” said Park.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii, a member of the Athletes’ Commission, said the programme was quite comprehensive.
“There were some good suggestions on how to present oneself during an interview. I’m sure our players will benefit from this training.”