Media Training for climate change organisations is an increasingly important and popular service, we’re finding. As the leading provider of Media Training workshops for investors concerned with climate change issues, academics working in climate change and charities campaigning on climate change, we’re seeing a growing demand from a wide variety of organisations who want to talk about this essential issue and communicate about it effectively with the media.
One of our specialisms is the provision of Media Training for investment managers, and increasingly these organisations want to talk about climate mitigation and their investment policies related to CO2 emissions.
We also work with universities, academics, think tanks and others who are studying climate change, training them to speak to the media in a way that will allow them to get their messages across to general audiences without getting drawn into too much technical detail or using the kind of jargon that means nothing to those outside the academic world.
Finally, we provide Media Training for environmental charities and other campaigners. These are people who want to raise the issue of climate change and speak to key audiences about the work that they are doing.
5 Things That Climate Change Organisations Should Consider
Here are five things that any organisation involved in climate change should consider when speaking to the media.
1. Think about the audience.
It might sound obvious, but the controversy over the Just Stop Oil protesters is a prime example of what can happen if you don’t think about the audience. Their cause might be noble, and you’ve got to admire their courage and imagination, but in communications terms, are they really focused on their audience? Indeed, people who already agree with them will approve of their actions. Still, it’s hard to see how those who are undecided or perhaps slightly sceptical about what must be done to mitigate global warming will be persuaded. If anything, the anger that Just Stop Oil have provoked amongst motorists and, most recently, cricketer Jonny Bairstow suggests that this particular style of protest might have the opposite of its intended effect. Thinking about your listeners is something that we emphasise strongly in our Media Training courses. This will dictate the messages you give and the language you use to convey those messages.
2. Use examples when talking about climate change.
The science regarding global warming and climate change is complex and constantly evolving. It also involves major concepts, huge statistics, timescales, and climatology that can easily overwhelm even the most intelligent layperson—identifying stories, examples, and anecdotes to illustrate your points when doing media interviews about these subjects is essential.
For investment managers talking to the media about these issues, they might share specific examples of products, companies and services that take the issue into account and manage it effectively. For scientists and academics working on climate change who are speaking to journalists, this might involve anecdotes about their research and their expeditions to look at the effects on different parts of the world. It could also be human stories – what effect are the changes having on individuals, and what can be done to improve the situation?
3. Don’t overwhelm your audience with big concepts and complex science.
In our media training courses for climate change spokespeople, we teach them how to make the science and theory around climate change relevant and understandable for people. The overarching concepts here are complex for many people to take on board, and because of their nebulous nature, they frequently don’t stick in our minds. The human brain deals with concrete concepts, stories and striking little facts rather than abstract theories, which we tend to remember.
During a media interview, this could be striking statistics, exciting analogies, or fascinating little nuggets of information. These will stick in the audience’s minds and help anchor those big, important concepts.
Find out more about organisational storytelling here.
4. Identify difficult questions that you might be asked.
We love that the organisations we provide media training about climate change for are all so passionate about their work. We help them to transmit that passion and excitement during media interviews. This is both with content – fascinating facts and striking statistics – but it’s also in the delivery style. This means ensuring they come across as knowledgeable, authentic, human, and empathetic.
However, journalists are always looking to stress test the arguments of the people that they are interviewing. Many might say that the media is always looking for bad news, but, as we’ve discussed previously, this is because trouble and risk tend to grab our audiences’ attention. In our media training for climate change organisations, we identify difficult questions, weaknesses in arguments and controversies that might trap a spokesperson. Our media coaching involves authentic, role-play interviews, and so our trainers, who are all working journalists operating under nondisclosure agreements, will push your spokespeople, be they academics, campaigners, or impact and ESG-based investment companies, on these issues.
If that sounds a bit scary – then it’s better to do it in a safe learning environment than the real world of the media. Also, most importantly, we work with public relations companies and in-house Communications teams to help spokespeople to find answers to these difficult questions and to deliver those responses confidently in words and phrases that work for them.
5. Provide a clear call to action.
Whether it’s media training or presentation training for climate change experts, we emphasise in our workshops that have grabbed the attention of audiences and taught them something as well as persuading them of the importance of your course; you then have to leave them with an idea of what they need to do with this information. A call to action is an essential element of any media interview, and it’s particularly important for charities and pressure groups when speaking to journalists.So, once you’ve perhaps scared your readers, listeners and viewers a bit about the causes of climate change, the detrimental impact that it is having and talked about what you’re doing about it, you need to tell people what action they need to take. Would you like them to make a few minor changes in their daily routine, or should they review their investments and think carefully about the impact on the climate of how they’re investing their money? Do you want the people reading the article or watching your TV appearance to fund your research, or should they consider collaborating with you? Whatever your organisation and whoever you’re speaking to, thinking about what you want the audience to do as a result of the interview is essential.
Media Training for Climate Change Organisations
As it continues to hold the attention of the media – quite rightly – there are significant opportunities for scientists, campaigners, investment managers and companies to approach climate change reporting. Effective media training will ensure that you make the most of these opportunities as climate change experts or spokespeople.