Why Media Training Matters: 3 Reasons
How Message Training Makes A Difference: 3 Tips
When discussing the framework for an upcoming media interview with a local television station, a client remarked, “I’ve done so many media interviews, I don’t really need any more preparation. I can handle this one myself.” This signaled a red flag.
As PR professionals, our main goal is to have clients well-represented whenever they are appearing in public. While it’s true that our client had done on-camera media training previously, it was years ago and since then, she had only done a handful of on-camera interviews. Her past TV appearances, which were all preceded by media and message preparation, were well received as she was able to get the key messages across to audiences succinctly. The upcoming interview topic was different, and the fact is, everyone gets rusty over time.
Following are three tips to make media training even more valuable.
Experts Get Tunnel Vision: You may be the subject expert, but the journalist/interviewer and their audience may not. They will have a range of interest and familiarity in the topic. While crafting messaging, continually ask yourself, “will people with all levels of experience understand that?” How well, you as a spokesperson communicate complex information will be key.
Keep It Simple, But Not Stupid: Being able to simplify your key messages without “dumbing it down” or appearing condescending is integral to a successful media interview. A lead sentence that summarizes the topic in a way the average reader or listener will understand is extremely useful. A follow-up sentence explaining the subject in more depth will have greater appeal to those who have more knowledge of it.
Practice Mock Interviews: We always find that message development, followed by staging mock interviews with both internal and external colleagues. The internal colleagues will be able to provide feedback about how well your key messages come across. External colleagues with little or no knowledge of the subject will be able to tell you how well they, as laypersons, can understand what you are trying to get across.
Approaching each media interview as a singular experience will help the company spokespersons to be fresh in interviews and overall, better prepared to handle questions that are posted. How has your company spokesperson prepared for media interviews in the past?