Media training is critical for anyone engaging with the press. Media interviews provide a great opportunity to reach your target audience and raise the profile of your organisation, but if you get it wrong it can have an adverse impact. The age of social media has made it more important as interviews can be shared widely in seconds. Effective media training ensures you understand the rules of engagement with a journalist and will give you the best chance of using the opportunity to your advantage rather than damaging your reputation.
However, it can be unclear what exactly media training entails. Here are five commonly asked questions on media training.
What does it mean to be media trained?
A media-trained individual has been prepared by industry experts on how to communicate effectively with media outlets. The experts are typically journalists (current or former) and PR professionals who can give a holistic breakdown of the media landscape and help to simulate real-life interview environments. By going through media training, the individual is equipped with both the knowledge and practice to answer questions with agility and ensure that the optics align with the company’s brand image.
What do media training sessions actually involve?
Typically, a stand-alone session lasts half a day and is held within a studio setting. This is to familiarise you with the atmosphere of a professional set-up, allowing you to train in a safe environment. A couple of hours with media experts to learn the essential skills and conduct mock interviews. You will learn how to communicate your messages effectively and how to deal with tricky questions without being derailed. However, the exact session content will be tailored to your requirements, including your personal profile, level of experience and made relevant to your organisation. In another article, we cover in more detail what you will learn from a media training session.
Is it only celebrities that need media training?
Although celebrities and public figures typically come to mind when discussing media training, it is crucial for any company spokesperson or high-profile individual to be able to respond effectively in a media interview. Journalists are often looking for commentary from business leaders and industry experts on the latest news stories – but with limited time and the camera rolling, it’s a different experience from delivering a presentation or taking part in a panel event. And if your organisation is in the public eye for the wrong reasons and you need to know how to handle difficult questions without losing your cool. Even a half-day session will teach you to master these skills.
What are the most important media training tips?
At a high level, we recommend you need to prepare for a media interview as thoroughly as you would for any important business meeting. But journalists do not appreciate an interviewee who sticks to a rigid script. You need to have a good idea of what you plan to say but be able to pivot back to the subjects you want to focus on and the messages you want to deliver. Media training will also focus on the speed of delivery – most of us speak too fast when we feel under pressure – and maintaining positive body language. And if you are under pressure, it can be tempting to say too much and to start waffling. Sometimes, less is more. For more guidance, read our article on the top 10 media training tips to remember.
How can I find the media training course right for me?
It can be difficult to differentiate between media training courses. But you can focus preliminary research on the credibility of the media training team. Has your trainer worked in the media? Do they have a first-hand understanding of journalism, based on their own experience? Does the trainer’s business have industry awards or recognisable accomplishments within the media?
An effective session will assess your profile and provide a precise outline of what you will cover and why. The right course for you will need to match your needs and fit your budget. However, a deciding factor in choosing the right trainer could be your intuition and chemistry with the team. Ask for a preliminary call to sound them out and decide whether the chemistry is right. You will be training for uncomfortable contexts. For the best learning experience, you need to feel like you can communicate openly with the team and trust their constructive feedback.
How can I get started?
PHA’s media training service is led by our expert team who have trained business leaders, entrepreneurs, media and marketing teams, Premier League footballers and athletes, universities, membership bodies, professional associations and third-sector organisations.
If you would like support with getting started with media training, get in touch today.