Media Trainer/Author Lynn Wilford Scarborough ~ Interviewed

Considered a pioneer of media training, Lynn Wilford Scarborough has consulted over 200 news operations including ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox, with more than 6,000 sessions to her credit. Her clients have included such notables as Paula Zahn, Catherine Crier, Debbie Norville, Isaiah Thomas, and Lars Larson. The author is President of, a firm specializing in media coaching and strategic business communications. TALK LIKE JESUS unites Ms. Scarborough’s passion for the media with her love for the Master Communicator.

What is your current project? Tell us about it.

Talk Like Jesus, Change your life with the SIMPLE steps of the Master Communicator.

As a TV news consultant and media coach I have spent my career helping people become more effective communicators – both by understanding their strengths and learning from those who are successful in their venue. This book explains the techniques of Jesus of Nazareth – and gives practical ways that people can learn to apply these amazing and SIMPLE methods into their daily life.

Share a bit about your unique writing journey.

Writing has always been a passion and critical way of processing life, dealing with problems, recording my joys/sorrows and expanding my relationship with God. I started journaling in high school and haven’t stopped. Writing has not come easily for me. I have had to work very, very hard at it.

For me the process is best expressed by Peggy Noonan who said, Most people write to express what they are thinking. . . I write to find out what I am thinking.

For me writing is something that I have to do – can’t stop it but hope that I am diligent and have the energy to finish all that which needs to be done.

What’s the best or worst advice (or both) you’ve heard on writing/publication?

Best advice is definitely more interesting – Madeline L’Engle (who I met while in seminary and kept in touch with for several years) said that when a book chooses you to write it then you have to do your best to serve.

In my experience, you may think that you are writing a book but in fact every book and article that I have worked on has rewritten me.

Worst advice – For nonfiction you don’t have to write the whole book before you sell it. Just learn how to do a great proposal and write it once it sells.

What is your favorite source for finding story ideas?

Everywhere – life . . . The years in the news business has given me some great stories to work with but most of my ideas come from life and the challenges that we all encounter. Most of the books written to date are designed to help people – so they first started with the needs of others.

Now for fiction – which just starting to write. . – I love to hang out at half price book stores and browse books. . I get ideas from history – and have way more ideas than can ever finish.

With the clarity of experience what advice would you offer up to the wet-behind-the-ears you if beginning this writing journey today?

Just do it. Get in a writing group. Don’t stop and keep it up. Deal with your fear and perfectionism – put it in the trash and move forward. Know what your expectations are. Don’t expect to get famous, rich, or whatever. . Do it because you love it and have something to say. Oh a keep your day job as you won’t make much money except for the corporate work. And actually the day job is a great place to get the real stories.

What event/person has most changed you as a writer? How?

There are so many. . but when I first started out Meeting Madeline L’Engle in seminary. I loved Wrinkle in Time as a teen and was blown away to meet her. Knowing that Wrinkle was rejected by so many publishers then went on to win a prize helped encourage me through the dozens of rejection letters and years of tenacity.

It took me 20 years to get my first book published.

What principles in Talk Like Jesus can be applied to authors who are writing, marketing and building platforms?

The SIMPLE principle works for all of these areas:

S – Remember your stories and why they are important

I – Interact with your readers – Use questions to engage and test them.

M – Multi-track – Your work has to have dimension and engage people on different layers.

P – Preparation is key – do your homework – esp. before interviews and marketing

L – Love – follow your passion and this will carry you in writing, marketing and make you authentic in interviews.

E- Your Execution should be exacting – don’t let anyone get you off track. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t stop til you get there.. and be sure to surround yourself with those who love and support you. Dump the turkeys and personal timewasters as quickly as you can.

Any concerns or passion where books and society intersect? Spout a bit…

One point – Books are so important to society because they help people to think, process, analyze instead of just reacting to life. We need to increase literacy of people worldwide as it will be one of the keys that save us from deception and error. Reading good books helps people become more functional, intelligent, wiser and better leaders. Those who don’t ready good literature are those who stop learning and risk the error of becoming sheep in a world filled with butchers and wolves. Books are a bastion of opportunity and in an electro-techno-media-connecto-world they are source of knowledge and wisdom.

Now on the process of writing – I can sometimes hear and feel the words before I write them. Can’t explain why this is like – but it may come from years of teaching people how to write for the ear. I have to hear what the words sound like to know that they are right.

For the story that grabs you. . it is a gut thing. Sometimes the truth of a story is like a melody that you hear on the wind. Suddenly you find yourself walking toward the sound and listening for the next notes. . .and as it plays you feel the vibration in your spirit. The pure tune makes your heart beat with anticipation and like a waking dream the song awakens something deep within. You have to follow it. . you have to write it. . .almost like heaven opened and let you hear the angels singing.

Have you received a particularly memorable reader response? Please share.

Love to hear that folks are using the principles to empower their lives. One man wrote to tell me how he used the principles to become a better listener with his teen son and wife.

In the corporate world – folks tell me all the time that principles of dealing with Communication Disconnects and Breakdowns work extremely well.

Another woman stayed up all night to read the book and was so excited that it helped her overcome some of her fear of communication when she learned the spiritual nature of communication.

How much marketing/publicity do you do? Any advice in this area?

Lots all the time. Never feel like doing enough.

Do lots of networking and ask other authors and friends to help you out.

Then follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

Parting words? Anything you wish we would’ve asked because you’ve got the perfect answer?

Jesus was a brilliant communicator. I am learning things all the time that amaze me about how he responded to situations. In our world of too many communication tools – texting, phones, emails… we are at a very dangerous place that we substitute real communication (face to face, heart to heart, spirit to spirit) for the ADD needs. Twitter is great to interact but its like popcorn – fluffy and not much nutritional value for building the human spirit and relationships. We have such incredible opportunity to build with our words. . . our communication abilities are a gift and blessing from God. We need to learn how to craft them and use them to bless, love, praise, worship and change our world.