We’re regularly asked for more detail about our various communications training sessions including media training, crisis communications training and presentation training courses – what they teach and how they work and so here are some answers to those frequently asked questions:
Am I able to have the training filmed/recorded for my future reference?
Yes, absolutely. We record all role-play radio and TV interviews and record the realistic podcast, panel discussion, and presentation exercises that we put our course participants through. We then send these to the person being trained and their Comms team and their PR company. We can also record press interviews and Q&A sessions so that we, the participants, and their colleagues, can look at issues such as body language, facial expressions, and vocal skills.
Are the sessions private or group-based?
Both. Because we’re an agile, niche agency, we create every course from scratch to meet your exact needs. We usually work with between two and six participants in our group sessions. We’ll provide trainers for groups of more than four to ensure that everyone gets proper attention from us as trainers. We’ve also done groups of 10 to 15. The benefits of group working are that participants learn from each other. There is an opportunity for spokespeople to develop messages together under our guidance and share them with the whole group.
As you can imagine, our one-to-one sessions are usually where there’s only one person to be trained. This might be because the organisation only has one spokesperson or because we are training an author, an actor, or somebody promoting a new book, film, stage play or project. We also provide one-to-one media training and presentation training for CEOs and founders of companies. Here the sessions are, of course, more intensive. We work closely with public relations companies and in house communications teams to identify the individual’s messages and personal narratives.
There’s a more substantial element of mentoring and personal development here. Even experienced CEOs find that when giving effective presentations or sounding authentic when talking to the media, they need to dig a little deeper. We help them to do this, carrying out role-play interviews and playing them back for review. We help them write and deliver presentations that focus on storytelling and personal experience to produce an authentic and committed compelling piece of communication.
Can I receive training even if my business is small?
Again, because we are an agile, niche communications training consultancy, we can help you, however, small your business and however restricted your budget.
We don’t have large sales teams and in-house TV studios to support, so we are much more cost-effective than most larger, commoditised consultancies. Not only will we create a media training or presentations training schedule that meets your exact needs, but we will do it on a budget that is right for you.
Can I tailor the content of my course to my specific needs?
This is something we passionately believe in. One of the reasons we, as trainers, stopped working for the large, commoditised media training factories is that we became disillusioned with the standard course that the salespeople sold into every client. With Communicate Media, the person you speak to is the person who delivers your Media Training, so you know you’re going to get precisely what you’ve asked for. We can create a media training, presentation training or crisis communications training package that fits your exact needs and budget and includes almost anything you require.
Can my course take place remotely?
When lockdown hit in early 2020, we had a feeling that we would move to a more online format, but we had no idea quite how successful it would be. We now work with more companies worldwide than we did before the pandemic to deliver media training, presentation training and crisis communications training. Whether a tech company on the West Coast of the US or a finance house in Hong Kong, we carry out media training courses fitting in with clients’ local time zones. We find that delivering courses via zoom, teams, or other remote communications technology is more authentic because the media are increasingly using it. Whatever your time zone, we can do a live media training, presentation training or crisis communications training course for you.
Do I have to come to London to receive training?
See above for our growing online Media Training. We are London based but have media trainers around the country who know their local media outlets well. We work throughout the whole of Britain, tailoring our media training courses to clients’ particular business sectors and making it relevant to the local media that we might speak to. Again, because we are in a niche agency with a flat structure, even with travel expenses, we are more affordable than most media training consultancies.
Do I need to attend more than one session?
As a flexible, agile agency, we can create a course that includes as many sessions as you want. Typically, one is enough, but sometimes people like the idea of having a week or so reflect on what they’ve learnt and then come back to re-test their messages or go through some tougher questioning.
We find that our presentation training courses looking at the theory of good communications and the structure of a presentation works well in the first session. We can then give the participants some time to work on their presentation before looking at the delivery element and exploring vocal skills and body language in the second session. We’ve even given presentation clients four or five sessions when they’re working towards a very important project. Our flexibility means that you can decide at each stage of your development whether you’d like to have another session or whether you think that you’ve done enough. The large production line media and presentation training companies can’t do this because of their sales targets and their contracts with their trainers.
Moreover, because we’re the specialist media training consultancy for law firms, we find that we can fit into partners’ busy diaries by providing a general, theory media training session for about an hour before booking in further one hour sessions for individual media training with participants during which we carry out the role-play media interviews that we’ve discussed in the theory section. This also works for architecture firms, financial services firms and other organisations where diaries are packed. We’re now finding that it works well when course participants are in different time zones.
Do I need to prepare anything before my course?
Before every course, we send out pre-course questionnaires. These invite the participants to talk about their previous media experience if they’ve had any. We also asked for some idea of what they would like to be interviewed about during the Media Training course. In our presentation courses, we ask about the kind of presentations our clients have previously done and expect to do in the future. In all of our pre-course questionnaires, very importantly, we ask participants to give us an idea of what they would like to learn in their training. We then expand on these aims during the course itself, and this allows us to make sure that we cover every participant’s particular needs in full.
Read this article discussing ‘How to Approach a Media Training Course’ to learn more.
How long will my course last?
Again, because we are a flexible, boutique agency, we can create a course to fit within your timescale. The large, commoditised media training providers have to stick to particular durations because they pay their trainers. Their high-pressure sales teams will also try and sell as long a course as possible.
We know that people are busy, and given that we are teaching the art of conveying information concisely in a limited amount of time, we ought to be able to do this ourselves. So, we can provide media training for a whole day, or if time is tight, we can give people a short, intensive course of an hour or an hour and a half. Similarly, because we are flexible, and our trainers have the autonomy to give clients the training they need if you find that a course needs to run over a bit, we’re pretty happy with that, and we won’t charge you more.
What experience does my mentor have?
All of our media trainers are experienced working journalists. They have impressive track records in the field and are still at the coalface producing reports and writing stories for a wide variety of outlets. The cynical old cliche about media training is that it’s the last refuge for the retired hack. Not with us. Our journalists report one day and then bring the expertise to you the next day. Each of them works under strict nondisclosure agreements so clients can feel comfortable about confidentiality.
It’s also worth stating that all our media trainers are good teachers, as well as their impressive journalistic credentials. Just because you can break an important news story doesn’t mean that you can train people to do media interviews. We only employ journalists who have the empathy, intuition, and interpersonal skills to push our course participants slightly out of their comfort zone.
However, our trainer can then encourage them and support them so that they appreciate that doing a media interview carries risks at the end of the course. Still, they also feel confident that they have the tools and techniques to perform well with the media.
The same is true of our presentation experts; we employ speechwriters, voice coaches and others who can teach everything from structure, choice of words and skills with storytelling through to the use of vocal skills and body language so that you can own the space and deliver a compelling presentation.
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