Media Training | Smithcom
As a former reporter one of my favourite parts of our business has always been media training. We teach spokespeople to get their messages across in an interview. In print – it means getting great quotes at the top of the story and in broadcast it means having messages that people listen to and retain. To do that you need to be credible and importantly you need to connect with your audience.
Sessions are usually a few hours or a full day if there are multiple participants. Media training session can also provide tremendous value by improving an existing set of messages to build a comprehensive narrative that has value beyond the interview with other stakeholders like investors and team members.
The key points of Media Training
If preparing for a specific interview, it is important to know the reporter’s style – are they aggressive, are the inquisitive? If it is a big and/or prolonged story, different reporters from the same publication will approach the story differently, one likely to become a channel you can use to get your messages out and one to take a tougher or an outsider perspective.
It is also important to know if you will be interviewed live or taped and edited for a news cast or a long new format. Interviews are edited for length although sometimes a longer form video can be found on the news website.
Media training also helps you prepare for the tough questions so you aren’t thrown off balance in the interview. In this day and age, interviews are usually conducted against the backdrop of hard news where a statement is an option. But an articulate and credible spokesperson goes a lot way to building up the face of an organization,
It is also important to watch out for negative or inflammatory words when a reporter asks a question as they are seeding those words for you to refute them. This makes your quotes more controversial.
And don’t use “no comment.” It makes you look guilty. If there is a reason you can provide information – like it is propriety information – say so.
I have seen media trainers aproach mock interviews for the drama of it all. I prefer a coaching model that builds confidence as we go, while still providing tough questions and tough scenarios.
Media training is learning to communicate clearly, succinctly and credibly and sometimes passionately. In the end, you want people to remember what you said.