Media training used to be reserved only for an organization’s top leadership who were often in the public eye and had to be ready at a moment’s notice to take a reporter’s phone call or appear on TV. But times have changed. News ― fake or not ― spreads quickly due to social media, enabling anyone to play the role of reporter, and stories to go viral in hours, if not minutes. Whether you are a C-suite executive, a government relations professional, a sales representative, or a nonprofit advocate, if you are out in public representing your organization, you should be media trained. As an ambassador for your organization, what you say on and off-the-record can have a big impact.
Five benefits of media training:
- Know What to Say. Do you know how to tell your company’s story clearly and succinctly? Are you telling the same story as everyone else in the company? Get six employees in a room and ask them to tell you what their company’s story is and it’s not uncommon to hear six different answers.
- Know What Not to Say. Sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as what you say. And when it comes to lawsuits, accusations of wrongdoing, or issues about a person’s character, there are things you cannot say. Do you know how to appropriately respond if put on the spot?
- Learn How to Say it. Do you project confidence, trust, and sincerity when delivering a message? Or do your body language and words tell another story?
- Learn How to Control the Interview. Do you know how to take charge of an interview, or do you merely respond to a reporter’s questions and walk away from an interview saying, “I can’t believe I forgot to talk about X!”?
- Learn How to Handle Difficult Questions. What’s the one question you most dread being asked? Are you prepared to answer that question, or do you freeze up or fumble your way through an answer?
Some people love the process of going through media training, others dread it, even seasoned executives. But the one thing everyone agrees on is that being media trained makes them a better company spokesperson, whether they are officially in that role or not.