Media training for executives
Helping people get comfortable in front of the mic
When faced with doing a media interview most people are understandably nervous. Even though we all consume loads of text, audio and video every day, just watching the news doesn’t adequately prepare you for being part of the news.
That’s where we come in. We are regularly called on to lead media training sessions for individuals, executives and boards of directors. We currently have autumn sessions booked with several boards, business owners, non-profit organizations and others. There’s still some room in our calendar for additional training.
We offer options for half day or full day sessions and are proud to say that exit surveys tell us the vast majority of participants are very satisfied with what they learn. Most telling, a large majority of our media training clients tell us they feel more comfortable and prepared to address the media after attending one of our sessions.
What do we cover? We begin with an overview of what media are looking for and what to do when you’re called. We review the principles behind conducting a message-driven interview and remaining in control of what you say. We frequently hear people complain that their remarks have been taken out of context. In our experience, that’s usually an excuse people use to cover for the fact that they lost control of what they wanted to say. Rogue, spiteful journalists do exist, but they’re the exception not the rule. Most reporters are looking for credible people who can speak with authority, clarity and a bit of flair about a given topic.
Sound bites and key messages
That said, it’s not a reporter’s job to tell your story or help you return to your key messages. The reporter’s job is to tell an entertaining and informative story. Your job is to help them do that while getting your key points across in that story. As part of our training, we spend time teaching strategies for developing sound bites that deliver key messages succinctly.
We take participants through many of the interviewing tactics that reporters use such as asking the same question multiple times in different ways or using loaded language in the question in the hope that the interviewee uses it in his or her answer. Once you know what to expect, it’s much easier to control what you say. That is especially true with hostile interviews. Our training encompasses strategies to deal with even the most difficult questions to help ensure that your story is told as fairly as possible.
It’s important to remember that a media interview is a particular kind of public speaking. I sometimes hear from executives who say they don’t need media training because they’re confident speakers. While public speaking experience is a fabulous asset, it doesn’t prepare you adequately for a difficult media interview.
Like any complex skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll be. And, in my experience, the best kind of practice is led by an experienced coach. That’s why our training sessions feature on-camera practice interviews that are customized for your organization. We work with you in advance to develop realistic interview scenarios and then give you the opportunity to practice in a simulated interview environment.
There’s no substitute for publicity as they say. Having a story in a major media outlet gives you an unparalleled ability to reach a large audience in one shot. When the opportunity arises, is your organization ready?