Most of us can remember at least one clip from radio or television when we cringed at someone trying to answer a question from a journalist, or even a member of the public.
The ‘hide your face behind a cushion’ moment, when you can almost feel the person squirming as they fail to manage the situation.
But how did they get into that position, and could they have done anything to manage the situation better?
The simple answer is yes, and it’s called media training.
What is media training?
Media training is a specific form of communication training to support interaction with the media.
It assists your preparation in facing all forms of media and presenting situations, helping you professionally represent yourself and/or your company. And it helps to manage or avoid situations that make you or your organisation look foolish or even unprofessional.
Blackberry’s (Research In Motion) European managing director had either forgotten his media training, not prepared properly for this interview or simply not had any training and/or support for this interview on BBC Breakfast in 2013.
The result of this meant while trying to avoid a tough, but perfectly reasonable and obvious, question he was left floundering as he clearly tried to avoid answering it.
His training should have kicked in when the question was asked, but in reality he should have been prepared for the question, answered honestly and then moved onto the messages he wanted to deliver. Instead he tried to shoehorn the messages into answering the difficult question and making it obvious that he had no answer, couldn’t be honest and left the key messages about his brand and product falling flat with the audience.
What does media training do?
Media training is all about helping you appear relaxed, confident, and calm whenever you’re required to speak to anyone in the media or present to an audience – be that at a public conference or an internal meeting. But training should also be reviewed regularly, and each interview prepared for separately, to ensure you are fully prepared each time.
This is because while being relaxed, confident and calm is good, it doesn’t help when you’re not prepared.
Take care Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, who in 2018 while waiting for a ‘down the line’ interview for ITV News on the possible merger with Asda, was caught humming and singing ‘We’re in the Money‘. Given he was likely to have benefitted financially from the merger, the recording made for cringeworthy viewing.
It clearly demonstrated he’d either not had adequate media training, or had forgotten that when doing ‘down the line’ interviews, that you say nothing and simply look straight ahead and await the questions – which you should be prepared for.
Coupe released a statement afterwards, saying “This was an unguarded moment trying to compose myself before a TV interview. It was an unfortunate choice of song, from the musical 42nd Street, which I saw last year, and I apologise if I have offended anyone.”
But the damage had already been done.
Why should you do media training?
To avoid the two examples already outlined for a start!
Media training will help you become a media savvy spokesperson who can deal with the media and maximise the potential of any interview or presenting opportunity. By undertaking media training, you’ll improve your communication technique through the use of role play and theory based activities.
Media training will give you the confidence to address a variety of audiences and provide support to improve your presentation skills.
Most importantly you will be able to feel comfortable in any setting, be that in front of a camera, with a microphone pointing at you, a member of the public with a camera phone or talking to an external or internal audience.
This can give you unrivalled reputation among your audience, be they customers, or clients, by delivering concise messaging in with strategically created soundbites.
Media Training Support
At Low&Behold our media-trained clients have carried out significant media interviews following training, including this example from Portman Dental Care’s director of dentistry, Catherine Tannahill talking about mouth cancer on the BBC in 2021.
Get in touch to find out how Low&Behold can deliver comprehensive media training service for you and your business.