Picture this – you have secured an interview with the media for a segment on a talk show, you are on set and are ready to speak about your company. You walk confidently on set, sit down and then the lights hit you, the camera starts rolling and the stage fright starts to set in. All your key points are forgotten, you stumble over your words, distracted by the sudden rush of anxiety and before you know it your time is up and you didn’t get to say what you wanted to. Not only that, the producers have decided that you aren’t a fit for the show and won’t be asked back.
This scenario is a fear for many people who are preparing to step in front of the camera for a media interview. Some may even try to avoid interviews all together, which puts their company at a great disadvantage. Generating media coverage for your company will not only help to get the message you want to share to your current or potential consumers, if you are successful as a spokesperson, the media will return to you for commentary in your area of expertise. Even if you feel confident in your on-camera abilities, media training is an effective way of developing the necessary skills to convey your messages with impact.
Media training is a beneficial tool to help teach individuals (the company spokesperson or persons) to effectively speak with reporters, editors, hosts and other members of the media during interviews. Some of the key aspects a company will learn in media training include:
Forming clearly defined key messages
Defining a company’s key messages should be a top priority while preparing for an interview. Once you have established your essential speaking points, you will have a clear idea of what you want to convey during media interviews. Instead of falling into a bad habit of rambling or going off topic, you will stay focused on your brand and keep your points clear and succinct.
Being prepared for difficult questions
Even if you or your company have nothing to hide, there will always be questions that have the potential to distract you or make you nervous. Journalists look for stories with substance, and sometimes ask questions that put people on the spot. A media training session conducted by an experienced facilitator can provide the necessary tools to navigate you through the potential landmines of an interview, whether it is broadcast or print. Media training can prepare you for curveball questions that may take the interview in a negative or awkward direction. By anticipating any difficult questions and preparing yourself for all scenarios, you will feel more confident during your interview.
Learning how to control the interview
Even if you do not know the questions beforehand, you can still learn how to control the interview. Media training will teach you how to steer the interview in a certain direction. Through practice, you will learn to answer questions by navigating back to your key messages.
Gain confidence as a spokesperson
A good spokesperson will mirror the company’s image and values and will have a comprehensive understanding of the brand’s tone and voice. Many people do not enjoy public speaking and may become even more nervous in front of the added cameras. During your media training session, you will discover your ‘crutches’, such as saying “umm” before replying to a question, clearing your throat, or avoiding eye contact. By participating in a filmed mock interview and watching it afterwards, you will be able to see your weak points and fix them in time for the actual interview.
Learn how to become a better storyteller
Journalists seek interesting stories and enticing quotes that paint a vivid picture. Don’t speak as though you’re reading from a script. Instead, make the decision to be a great storyteller. Allow your brand’s personality to shine through your words and actions, and provide a quote that will interest people. The way you act during an interview is as important as what you say, and will colour the way people view your brand.
The above are just some of the key points one will learn by participating in media training. Being prepared for an interview will do wonders for your company and help lead to the audience and media seeing you as the expert in your field.
If you are interested in a media training session, feel free to reach out to us at On Q Communications to book a session.