• Tim Herrera

Consider Getting Media Training to Sharpen Your Messaging

Media interviews can be intimidating, even for those with a lot of interview experience. A spokesperson must know how to articulate well to help advance the organization’s goals, viewpoints and objectives.

The person chosen for this role has a lot of responsibility because media is powerful. Sometimes you only get one shot at representing who you are and what you do. Media training can sharpen your messaging skills.

Drew Levinson, Senior Vice President, Media Relations at H+K Strategies, says “A carefully crafted media training conducted by an experienced facilitator can provide the necessary tools to navigate through the potential landmines of an interview, whether it is print or broadcast.”

Media training is taken seriously in the big business world. A survey by Impulse Research found nearly nine out of ten CEOs have had some formal media training for help in getting their messages across.

Some people freeze when they’re being interviewed. In fairness, not everyone is good at being an interview subject, at least not at first. It takes practice.

If you can’t afford formal media training, here are some tips to help you prepare for that media interview:

· Think of questions you’d most likely be asked by reporters and practice your answers.

· Develop a standard set of “message points” about your group, organization or company. Have them handy or have them memorized.

· Set up a mock press conference and have staff ask you questions.

· Videotape your mock press conferences to see how you performed. Ask staff members to watch the video replay with you and offer brutally honest critiques.

· Take your practicing seriously by watching how others handle the task. Watch televised news conferences to see how interview subjects are handling the questions and the pressure.

· Practice and plan.

But consider the formal training route. While it isn’t cheap it is worth the price. Remember the words of Seth Arenstein, from PR News: “Media training is like cough medicine—it can be unpleasant going down, but helpful in the long run.”

(Tim Herrera is the author of Media Training: A Guide to Giving Great Interviews and several other books on communications.)

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