How to be a superb presenter

Frank Bough was a presenter – a very good one. I suppose you could call him a pioneer in virtual communication.

And his death on Sunday has reminded me of what we can all do to communicate at our very best in the virtual and live world.

Frank was a pioneer. Working at the BBC, he was one of the first presenters in this country who deservedly became a household name and who successfully made the transition from sport to current affairs presenting.

Which is a bit like Gary Lineker presenting Question Time.

What made Frank exceptional was his ability consistently to “be himself” at all times, all the time looking at the invisible audience, listening to the producer, retaining fresh information as “presenter fodder” and timing his intros and outros to absolute perfection every time.

Have a look at his demonstration of this, in an interview right at the end of his BBC career.  

Reputations and how not to manage them

He was also what you might call the Victim of Reputation. Via “revelations”. Frank was caught with his trousers down. With illegal substances. Twice. Or, rather, he confessed to it, before it hit the headlines. 

“So what?” you might say. But this was 1987 and although these weren’t exactly Victorian times, Scandal usually meant something extra-marital. something sexual – salaciousness or something similarly gossip-worthy. Nowadays it’d be something objectively more sinister which involves abuse or actual inappropriate behaviour towards others.

And so Frank Bough was sacked from the BBC and, largely, disappeared from the public view. 

Come the BBC obituary on Monday, a quarter of the page was taken up by a reminder of the revelations. Which, as Frank had been the consummate professional and accepted by very many as one of the best, if not the best, at his job, might seem objectively unfair. 

That said, some might say that Frank Bough could have managed his reputation in a more effective way. And it’s something to consider for all of us, particularly those of us who use social media to communicate to the outside world. Now, as then, there’s a strong argument for being just as meticulous, thorough and mindful of what we communicate inside and outside of our core talent, whether it’s a confession of something that should remain an entirely private matter – just like Frank – or an expressed opinion that’s something way beyond our professional brief or modus and that detracts from our reputation as one of the best in our field.

“And finally…”

Personally speaking, there was no one better than Frank Bough. He’s an inspiration – a quality reminder from the past, who’s worth checking out for the best ways to communicate – consistently appearing relaxed, confident and ultimately being “oneself”. He might have had comb-over hair and a penchant for comfy sweaters but there’s rarely been anyone better at communicating what’s going on in the world at large. 

And I hope he serves as a great example of how to convey one’s talent to those who have taken the time to read this.