Media Training people who don’t want media training

We have trained an eclectic variety of people who have to speak to and through the media on behalf of their organisations or companies.

Broadly speaking, these can be categorised into three groups, two of which do not think they need media training.

The first group are people who relish the opportunity to tell their story and deliver key messages, and welcome any advice or support that will help them do this effectively. They either volunteer for or are pleased to be put forward for media training.

The second group are people who have been put forward because their role and status necessitate that they must be a spokesperson. They believe they already have the confidence, personality and skills to do this very well. Some also believe that media training will undermine rather than improve their natural ability to communicate effectively.

The third group never wanted to be spokespeople, and are apprehensive about being referred for media training. They believe that their time would be better spent performing the role they are paid for, and letting someone else do the talking.

The process of media training usually benefits all three groups equally, as understanding where each participant is coming from is a prerequisite for a productive session.

We ask certain questions ahead of a session in order to find out a bit about the participants, including why do you think you need media training?

This pre-session questionnaire and a good client briefing will give some useful information about the participants but we usually get more insight from relevant small talk and observing their attitude, behaviour and body language at the beginning of the session.

In this respect the media coach is already role playing before the session begins, as a journalist’s performance in an interview will often be influenced either positively or negatively by their first impressions of the spokesperson.

That’s why a good media coach has to be able to read people, and then have the interpersonal skills to help individuals accept and address any negatives or issues whilst ensuring they are getting the encouragement and skills to finish the session with the required confidence and enthusiasm.

It is also important that every participant, and especially those with reservations about the value of media training, should confirm afterwards that they have acquired new knowledge, insight and techniques that will positively influence their preparation and performance when engaging with the media.