When organising our media training courses with our clients, we get asked a variety of questions about the course, why it is beneficial, and who it might be appropriate for.
In this article, we explore some of our most frequently asked questions, helping you to gain some valuable insight.
What does Media Training involve?
This is one of the most common FAQs. Media Training courses vary from provider to provider and are very much dependent on what the participants and the organisation commissioning the Media Training are looking for.
Typically, though, our Media Training courses involve giving the participants an insight into what makes a media story and how journalists work. All of our trainers are working journalists (operating under strict non-disclosure agreements), so they can give our Media Training Workshop participants a peep behind the curtain to see what goes on in the minds of journalists when they’re being interviewed. We then look at some preparation techniques, showing how interviewees can work with a public relations company or in-house comms team to prepare themselves for media interviews. Next, we put the participants through realistic role-play, press, radio, and perhaps television interviews. After each one, we invite the participants to share their thoughts and then provide feedback as well as tools and techniques to help them to improve their performance.
We advise on messages and help people identify and tell stories, case studies, and anecdotes that will illustrate and prove their points. Very importantly, in our Media Training courses, we help people to handle the difficult questions that might be put to them and to get back onto their key messages, maintaining control of the interview.
How to become Media Trained?
If you’re looking for Media Training courses, your public relations consultant or in-house comms teams are probably the first port of call. We work closely with PR companies and press offices to create Media Training courses that meet the exact needs of their clients or a colleague who might be facing interviews.
But, as a niche, lean and agile Media Training consultancy, we also work with individuals and small companies that don’t have this kind of public relations support. If you want to get Media Trained, please get in touch with us, and we can create a course that will meet your exact needs and budget.
What is Media Training for celebrities?
We provide Media Training for celebrities and prominent people such as politicians, actors, writers, artists, film directors, theatre producers and interior designers. Essentially, if you’re a celebrity or a prominent person who wants to know how to do a media interview – in other words, to gain more control of the exchange with the journalist and ensure that you minimise the chances of a negative article or report, then we can help you.
The media training courses for celebrities that we provide involve helping them convey their persona to a journalist. We help them identify and tell the kind of stories and anecdotes – funny or serious – that journalists are always looking for. Celebrities sometimes have to face difficult questions during interviews, so we advise how to manage tricky questions from a journalist and get back in control of the interview and onto positive, familiar territory again.
We work closely with celebrity publicists and agents to create courses that are precisely right for their clients, whoever they are, and whatever their talents, expertise, and experience.
What is the purpose of Media Training?
The purpose of Media Training is to help interviewees to manage media interviews more effectively.
Is Media Training the same as public relations, people sometimes ask? The answer is that they are closely related but very different. We work with many public-relations companies and in-house communications teams to train their clients or spokespeople so that when these communications professionals place interviewees with journalists, the interviewees are well prepared to make the most of the opportunity and to get their messages across.
Media Training is not about making life difficult for journalists – if anything, it’s the opposite. Since all our media trainers are working journalists operating under non-disclosure agreements, they know what journalists want to hear from an interviewee. This means that when somebody being interviewed gets across their most important message clearly and concisely at the start of the conversation and backs it up with interesting, relevant examples, case studies, statistics, and even simple human anecdotes, the journalist’s life is much easier. Media Training can help media interviews work more effectively, creating a win-win for journalists and interviewees.
Is Media Training about avoiding the question? We would say absolutely not – but if you do find yourself facing tricky questions, we have advice and techniques that can help you to manage the risk involved and to move back onto your key messages so that you maintain more control of the interview and the final report is more likely to be favourable.
What has Media Training done to politics?
This is a good question and one which could provide enough material for a whole book. Media Training for politicians, which we do at Communicate Media, really began during the late 80s and early 90s as political campaigning in the UK, the US and across the world became more professional. Spin Doctors and professional Communications advisors began to help politicians identify key messages that would promote their policies and use them to improve their performance during media interviews and speeches.
The problem is that, in many cases, politicians began to believe that they no longer needed to answer a difficult question put to them by the interviewer. However, as we point out in our media training courses for politicians and other professionals, the interviewer isn’t asking you a question for their benefit – they’re doing so on behalf of the audience. Therefore, if you try to avoid the question, you’re not insulting the interviewer; you’re insulting your audience, many of whom might be potential voters.
This is why Media Training for politicians has to be carefully thought through and based on a robust media strategy. We passionately believe that not only is the political interview in trouble but it needs to be improved for the sake of our democracy. We want politicians to sound more honest and engaged and to use the kind of natural communication techniques that the rest of us use in our everyday lives.
What happens in Media Training?
Media Training courses typically involve a series of role-play, press, radio and TV interviews. These are carried out in a safe, confidential space where the participants can be put through their paces and are able to try out messages as well as words and phrases to see what works for them. In the case of Communicate Media, all of our trainers are working journalists, so these role-play interviews are authentic and the advice that our media trainers give is based on years of experience as journalists in the field.
The aim is not to frighten anyone or put them off speaking to the media. However, in some cases, we must warn course participants that one wrong phrase or misjudged comment can cause them and their organisation a lot of trouble. In other cases, our Media Training courses are about helping spokespeople to become more confident when talking to the media.
Our Media Training courses give course participants insights into how the media works and what journalists are looking for in a story. We then provide practical tools and techniques that allow you to get your message across to a journalist, to give them what they want while helping you as well, developing a win-win for interviewees and their public relations teams on the one side and journalists on the other. We also provide advice on handling difficult questions and aggressive interviewers.
How to be Media Trained?
To be media trained, you need to find a Media Training provider that can create a course that meets your exact needs and budgets. At Communicate Media, we are frequently contacted by public relations, companies and in-house communications teams looking for Media Training for their clients or colleagues. We provide Media Training for law firms, architects, practices, retailers, luxury brands, and fashion and clothing companies, among others. Sometimes people want a one-off course geared to a particular event, while on other occasions, public relations and in-house comms teams like to have a bank of people who are trained to speak to the media.
If you have a public relations company or in-house press office, it’s probably best to talk to them first about Media Training. However, if you’re an individual or a smaller organisation that doesn’t have this resource, you can talk to us directly. As a niche, lean and agile Media Training provider, we can create a course that meets your needs and fits your budget. While some of the larger media training companies have standard courses, which they roll out for every client, with Communicate Media, the person you speak with to design your course is also the one who delivers it, so you get exactly what you asked for. They will also manage your account and provide all post-course support for you. This also means that you don’t have to pay for sales teams and broadcast studios that you might not be using.
Can lawyers get Media Training?
As the leading media training provider for law firms, we can tell you that lawyers absolutely can and do receive Media Training. We work with a range of magic circle and silver circle law firms as well as smaller operations to help them to prepare partners and other senior people for media interviews. This means that if a journalist, be that one from the Financial Times, the BBC, Bloomberg or a specialist publication, needs to speak to a lawyer, the law firm’s PR company or in-house communications team can feel more confident that the person that they put up for the interview will be well equipped to get the message across and to avoid getting drawn into difficult areas.
Having provided Media Training for lawyers over many years, we know they are risk-averse and like to be in control. This is why we provide a range of techniques to allow lawyers to do media interviews more effectively, maintain more control over the conversation, and to get their message across clearly, concisely and in a way that works for the journalist.
Can architects get Media Training?
We provide Media Training for architects, from partners to the more junior staff, so that they are well prepared whether they find themselves speaking to the BBC, The Sunday Times, or Dezeen.
As we say in our Media Training courses for architecture practices, journalists are always looking for stories. The architects we provide media interview training workshops for are full of fascinating facts and interesting little anecdotes. We simply enable them to identify these stories and tell them to journalists. But we also help architects to avoid getting into difficult areas during media interviews, be that comments about clients, political debate, or other controversies that might make a great story for the journalist but don’t work so well for the architecture firm.
What does it mean to be Media Trained?
Being Media Trained means you are well-positioned to deliver a great media interview. Almost everybody, speaking on behalf of any organisation you see, interviewed on television, radio, and most of those whose quotes you might see in the print media have received Media Training.
Media Training allows people to give the journalist what they’re looking for – this means getting the message upfront and expressing it clearly and concisely. It also involves providing stories, case studies, statistics, and even simple human anecdotes, to illustrate and prove these key messages. Doing this right can help the clients of public relations companies and colleagues of in-house comms teams and press offices. All of this creates a win–win for the journalist and the interviewee.
Doing a media interview can offer great opportunities and advantages when it comes to promoting your brand, raising your profile and developing your business. It’s also essential for advancing a campaign. However, doing a media interview also includes considerable risks. Our Media Training courses enable people to exploit all the opportunities while mitigating those risks.