Eight PR | What is media training and why is it important? | Article – HSBC VisionGo

How media training can help you communicate clearly and effectively to the media and public speaking
Management  ·    ·  2 mins read

Senior executives are the face of a company and need to present themselves confidently, naturally and polished in front of the media and at public speaking events.

Whether in person, over the phone, via video, at a product launch, press conference or at an event with media present, talking to a single journalist or a group of reporters can be a stressful experience.

For a TV interview, for example, interviewees often have an earpiece where questions come in from an unseen anchor. There’s another anchor sitting in the studio and you speak into a camera. This format is disconcerting even for trained spokespeople.

At a public event or a town hall, message delivery is just as important, and the spokesperson has to show why he/she acts as the corporate communicator.

One poorly explained answer may cause a shipwreck and require considerable time and effort to salvage corporate and professional reputations.

5 Mistakes that can ruin an interview/public speaking opportunity

1. Relying on non-answers, e.g. ‘I don’t know”, or ‘no comment’

2. Talking too much

3. Being unprofessional in dress, attitude, posture and timeliness

4. Checking the time, reading phone or email messages during the interview

5. Being unprepared

There are many, many ways to self-sabotage a media interview and ruin an opportunity to share your message with the public. A poor interview performance may even reverse the positive perception about a company, cause reputational damage, and require significant time and effort to get the company’s image back on track.

Making a good impression, delivering the story you want the media to write about, how to deflect hostile questions, all while ensuring the company reputation is protected, comes down to media training. This focused training teaches executives the steps required to ensure a media engagement is professional and persuasive.

Speaking to the media requires a special skill to convey positive news and handle hostile questions or criticism from reporters. Spokespeople need to be ready to provide early responses to any negative coverage, misinformation, or rumours.

They need to be ready to deliver a polished performance and communicate with confidence in an environment they control, even if, such as in a crisis, information is scarce or contradictory.

The ability to share across print, online, radio, TV, social media in a few seconds means there is even more pressure for the spokesperson to be on message.

Reporters may livestream, share an answer in a tweet, on Facebook, or tweet an alert to get attention before the longer story is published, all while the interview is continuing.

Having to retract or walk back a statement can mean a good story being buried with retractions and clarifications. Some media may not even carry a walked back statement. Worse, readers may only see the first story and form an opinion based on ‘wrong’ information that came from the official spokesperson of your company.

Media Training Programmes

Media training teaches executives how to handle themselves in front of a camera, how to respond to soft, hard and ‘64 million dollar’ questions, all while being critiqued on their performance every step of the way. 

Usually a half or full day of training is offered and, to make the experience realistic, practice sessions include ambush interviews, a press conference and mock TV and radio interviews. Sometimes a freelance / ex-reporter is on hand to add more realism.

The training also covers crisis interviews, message creation, message management and delivery, and practice in dealing with hostile questions.

5 Reasons Media Training is Important  

1. An interview will be seen, heard or read by your boss, colleagues, customers, partners, regulators, competitors, analysts, shareholders, journalists, investors, future employees and employers, your family, and more. Knowing how to control an interview, recognising traps, speaking with authority, and communicating the brand’s messages are all based on a media training foundation.

2. When a crisis hits, information is often scarce or contradictory and media will want to speak to a spokesperson right then and right now. Spokespeople need to respond at a moment’s notice.

3. Print, online, bloggers, TV and radio interviewers want a story and a poorly executed interview will cause a less than desirable outcome

4. Helps to increase confidence and assertiveness for media engagements and public speaking

5. Media share stores across multiple platforms in seconds, putting more pressure on the spokesperson to give a polished performance every time.

If you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your media training needs, please contact eight@eightpr.com 


Another article on www.eightpr.com talks about how to prepare for a media interview and can be found here https://www.eightpr.com/blog/media-interview-preparation

Ivan Theodoulou
Ivan Theodoulou
Eight Public Relations
Eight Public Relations