On Deck IC was in Indianapolis, IN for the NFL Scouting Combine this year. We were able to connect with some of the top brands, media, and top athletes in the college football and NFL landscape, attend exclusive panels, and see the future of the NFL show incredible strength and agility during their work outs. We saw several interviews throughout the course of the Combine, and will be releasing a video with some key takeaways. Here’s an overview of what’s to come:
- Avoid stock phrases: Interviews are more impactful when you avoid stale phrases like “proud,” “happy,” and “thrilled.” Whether you’re speaking to NFL coaches, the media, or potential brand partners, we can all safely assume that you’re “excited to be here.” So is every other player. You have a very short amount of time to say something memorable, so avoid telling people what they already know. You’re not necessarily doing anything wrong by using these words, but you aren’t saying anything right either. Don’t waste your words! Give us value with what you’re saying and set yourself apart from the field.
- Be authentic: Do you remember the most exciting interview from last year’s NFL Combine? How about the draft? Neither do we. Being authentic goes beyond not sounding fake or phony. It means leading every interaction that you have with the most defining part of who you are, and tailoring it to the questions that you’re asked and for the your target audience. Find what sets you apart and attack with it. From “business is booming” to parades of Skittles, football players have the opportunity to leave their mark on one of the largest audiences in America.
- What situation are you speaking to?: You don’t need to prepare an answer for every potential team that you’re speaking to, but you should be prepared for three key situations that could determine the potential of your NFL career:
- Immediate, frequent playing time: If you know that you’ll be seeing a lot of playing time, avoid statements about how you’re “humbled to be considered by such a historic franchise like _______.” Instead, discuss how hungry you are to make a fast and major impact on the team. It’s important to acknowledge the potential learning curve and the context that you’d be playing in, but if you focus on your desire to leave everything you have on the field, you’ll endear yourself to potential, coaches, teams, cities, and the media.
- Riding the bench: Let’s face it. If a QB gets drafted to the Patriots, he isn’t going to see a lot of playing time unless TB12 fails us. Rather than talk about how you’re going to make a difference as soon as you arrive, it’s better in this situation to discuss the value of mental reps, how you’re excited to learn from the best in the game, and that you can’t wait to capitalize on the opportunities that you are given.
- Somewhere in-between: With injuries, trades, and the overall shifting in today’s NFL ecosystem, it’s not always clear what situation a team may be in. This will be your safest messaging, and a good default to focus on if you’re nervous. If you talk about how you’re here to help the team win regardless of what arises, and that you’ll prepare everyday like your future team needs you, your audience will know that you’re flexible enough to plug into any situation, and that you won’t be shaken by the volatility.
Learn more about these key takeaways, and other messaging tips for Combine snubs, lesser recognized players, avoiding controversial questions, and more in our upcoming video.