Whenever we start our media training courses or even discussions with potential clients who are new to training people to do media interviews, we naturally encounter a few myths and misconceptions.

People have often heard about media coaching, but they haven’t heard the right things about it. We hate to use the phrase “fake news”, but there’s a lot of it about when it comes to our business. That’s why we’ve decided in this blog to correct some of these misconceptions and ‘explode’ a few myths.

  1. It’s all about avoiding the questions.

“Media training is all about avoiding the questions, isn’t it?” people often say. As far as we’re concerned at Communicate Media, this is not the case.

We talk about the reasonableness test – which is appropriate in many ways, given that we’re the specialist media trainers for law firms. We also work for a wide variety of organisations and individuals. Would your audience reasonably expect you to answer the question? If the issue is something that you’re directly responsible for, the answer is probably yes. If the journalist has thrown a question at you which is slightly left-field or not wholly within your remit, then the answer is no.

But whether you answer the question or not, the point is that you can take the initiative and move the conversation away from this challenging issue. We work with our clients and their PR consultancies and in house Comms teams to find answers for complex questions and problems, and then we help them regain control of the interview.

  1. It’s an alternative to PR.

Far from it. Media training complements PR. We work closely with PR consultancies and the in-house Comms teams of law firms, financial services firms, retailers, architects’ practices, and a wide range of other organisations to help them to test and refine their messages. By providing authentic role-play interviews, we can test how these messages will and with the media. We can also look at how they sound when delivered by spokespeople.

Do the words work?

Do the spokespeople sound authentic?

  1. It’s just about what you wear on camera.

Don’t wear white or black. Choose pastel colours. Think about where a lapel mic might be attached to your clothes. Avoid distracting jewellery.

All these things are essential, and the fact is that however much you’ve honed your message – if there is something about your appearance that contradicts it or looks ‘odd’, you’re at a disadvantage.

However, in our media coaching courses, we also look at the messages you want to put across, and we help you do so clearly and concisely. We help you develop stories, examples and case studies to illustrate and prove your points, and we’re skilled in the psychology of communication. This means that we can provide you with the tools and techniques that you need to engage and persuade your audiences.

  1. It’s only relevant to high profile individuals.

Anyone within an organisation might be called on to speak to the media. As journalists, we like people with authority and responsibility, but we also want to hear from people with practical experience and those working at the coal face of any industry. We’ve provided media training for retailers’ salespeople, personal trainers, GPs and those who want to talk to the media about their remarkable life experiences. In some cases, we find that a junior team member might be the best person to speak because they’re most appropriate for the audience – and we’re all about audiences. For instance, we recently worked with a law firm where we trained some of their interns to do interviews and TikTok videos about what a great place the firm was to work at.

The skills we teach are as relevant to those in more junior positions as those at the top of the tree. We also find that people pick up and polish up valuable skills for general business communication during our media training courses.

  1. It’s the last resort of embittered former hacks.

This is undoubtedly true of some media trainers. However, we only use working journalists. They’re doing it one day – interviewing people, writing articles and producing TV and radio reports – and then the next day, they’re bringing that practical experience to bear on the training that we deliver to you. Then, the next day they’re back to the day job. We should add that all of our trainers work under strict Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). We’ve never had a breach in nearly 30 years of business, handling some very sensitive issues for high profile organisations and individuals.

The point is, though, that our trainers are working at the coal face of a fast-moving industry, and so they bring authentic experience. They’re also good trainers. Just because you can break a news story or do a great interview doesn’t mean that you can teach. We look for people with authority, experience, empathy and the ability to push people one minute and then reassure them the next to build their confidence.

 Get in Touch

We’d very much like to talk to you in more in detail about what is and is not media.

Our Media training courses are realistic, bespoke to your needs, quick to turn around and cost-effective.

Give us a call (0)800 1777080 or email us: gareth@communicatemedia.com.

Alternatively, you can click here to make an online enquiry.