If you’re a public relations professional or a member of an in-house communications team, the chances are that you have at least heard of Media Training, even if you haven’t used it yet with your clients or colleagues. When we begin our conversations with public relations advisors and marketing and communications teams, they often start by asking, “what are the aims of Media Training?” To answer that question, it’s worth looking at what Media Training is – and what it is not.
What is not Media Training?
Let’s start with two things that Media Training isn’t.
When asked what Media Training does and what happens in a Media Training course, some people might think it’s a replacement for public relations companies and in-house communications teams. We would say that it absolutely is not – media interview training complements the work of PR people and press officers. We work closely with PR companies and in-house communications teams to ensure that when they arrange for a colleague or one of their clients to speak to a journalist – be that print or broadcast – they do that interview well. When we talk about doing an interview well, we mean that it works for them as the interviewee, as well as for the journalist.
The other thing that media training is not about is avoiding the question. The simple fact is that if the audience is expecting you to give a straight answer to a straight question, then you’d better be ready to do that. But if you can’t answer the question – or you don’t want to – then what do you do? Similarly, you might have answered a difficult question, but then what? How do you then move away from this unhelpful subject area and win back control of the interview? This is one of the aims of media training.
What is Media Training?
So, what are the other aims and objectives of media training? Essentially, it’s about helping spokespeople and other interviewees to demonstrate three essential qualities in any communication – knowledge/experience, human warmth and authenticity. Good media training will give interviewees the tools and techniques to demonstrate these qualities.
One of the critical aims of media training is to enable the interviewee to take more control of the interview. As the specialist media trainer for law firms and because we also provide media training for financial services firms, we know how these professionals, in particular, like to be in control. It’s important to stress that you can never completely control what the journalist takes away from your conversation and includes in their report, whether a print article or a broadcast package. As we say in our media training courses, you’re in charge of the information you give out, and the reporter is in charge of how they use it.
However, one of the aims of media training is to shift the balance of power towards the person being interviewed during a media interview. In our media training workshops, we teach the participants how to take more control of an interview and how to get on to the front foot. Our course participants realise that, as the experts, they can direct the course of the interview and set out their stall rather than waiting for the journalist to ask the “right” questions. After all, those ideal questions and the opportunities to get across a key message they offer might never arrive. Media training enables participants to create those opportunities – and to make the most of them.
Storytelling is essential for any media interview – providing examples, stories, case studies and even little human anecdotes to illustrate and prove your points. This is a key aim of media training. At Communicate Media, we help our clients identify and tell these stories to deliver a key message that engages their audiences and makes those messages sticky.
Media Training London
These are the aims and objectives of media training, but there are other benefits that it can bring to organisations, to in-house communications teams and PR companies. We want to tell you more about how our media training, crisis communications and other training courses can help you, so get in touch.