Athletes from the equestrian World Class Programme gathered at University of Warwick yesterday to listen to experts from the world of TV, social media and sponsorship for an engaging and interactive media day.
The UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme supports talented athletes achieve medal winning performances and helps riders on their journey with different elements, including business and communications.
BBC News presenter Maxine Mawhinney was one of the speakers on the day, giving athletes an insight into what journalists look for in a story and how to combat difficult situations.
“It has been a fantastic day,” said Maxine. “We looked at the importance of communication when face-to-face with broadcast journalists and those in written media. The athletes have learnt a few tricks of the trade which will stand them up above others and will help them deliver their key messages clearly.”
The athletes participated in focus sessions that included group discussions on social media, led by Charlotte Males, previously social media manager for Team GB and now at Lagardère Sports.
Charlotte explained: “It’s great for these athletes to use social media because it will help increase public knowledge of equestrian sport and also the personality of these talented individuals. There’s so much noise you have to get through so you have to keep it fresh and be creative.”
Former editor at Horse & Hound, Lucy Higginson, delivered a session on sponsorship alongside five-time Paralympic gold medallist, Natasha Baker, talking about what sponsors look for and how to package an offer to a sponsor that is going to benefit their product.
David Hamer, the BEF’s Head of Performance Pathways commented: “We have looked at a range of things that will help athletes in their sport. Live interviews are always challenging so Maxine has been able to help them be less frightened in front of the camera. Social Media is constantly growing and although a lot of the young athletes are very savvy on this topic, they gained a lot of tips on how to promote themselves and use it as a tool to raise their profile. Of course getting any sponsorship is like the golden egg for any sportsperson and Lucy has been able to give them some really good tips on how to be braver when approaching a sponsor and more importantly, not being scared to promote themselves.”