Media training for health clubs and gyms – it’s more important than ever

Over the next few weeks, millions of people will be signing up – rather belatedly – for gyms and health clubs or digging out their membership cards as they decide that it’s time to get fit for their summer holidays. We’ve found that a growing number of health clubs and gyms have been approaching us for media training and crisis management training.

We work closely with health club and gym Comms teams and PR companies to help their managers and personal trainers to do media interviews effectively.

The positive stories usually include giving advice on workouts, exercise and healthy eating regimes. Newspapers, magazines, websites and TV and radio programmes love this kind of information. A personal trainer or fitness expert who can offer practical advice makes the job of the journalist easier and will therefore always be in demand.

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We help personal trainers to give the journalists want they want. We work with them to make sure that their comments are succinct and relevant to the outlet, whether it’s the Daily Mail, Mens Health or You and Yours. We also work with them to develop the kind of case studies, examples and anecdotes that journalists are always looking for. And we help them to do this without compromising their client confidentiality.

However, one of the reasons why health clubs want to do media training is that they’ve discovered that interviews don’t always go as planned.

Media interviews with personal trainers don’t always go as planned

One client told us about their experience of putting a young personal trainer up for an interview with a tabloid ostensibly about tips for getting motivated to go to the gym. However when he and the company saw the final piece they were not at all happy.

The story was about how female clients often make passes at their hunky male trainers and it described the sexual chemistry between them. Had the personal trainer said this? No, of course not! Although, on second thoughts, he might have mentioned something about it. But that was after the interview, as they were leaving the building.  Yep, that old one!

We worked with this health club group to help their personal trainers and their staff keep on message and ensure that they didn’t say anything embarrassing. We gave them some techniques and then gave them realistic interviews so that they could put these techniques into practice.

We’ve also worked with some of the big names in health clubs to help their personal trainers and gym managers to identify and handle journalists who don’t identify themselves. Was that call about membership or that little chat about what personal trainers really think about their clients just a friendly member or was it a reporter looking for a story?

Crisis media training for health clubs and gyms

We’ve also provided crisis media training for gyms and health clubs. In some cases, we’ve trained senior executives to do interviews in which they have to defend the business. This was because staff had been secretly filmed giving potential members incorrect information when they were being signed up. We also helped a client to handle media interviews following a report that revealed dirty changing rooms and towels that weren’t properly laundered.

In both cases, it was a nightmare scenario. However, our media trainer/journalists have handled crisis situations from the point of view of the media when they’ve been reporting and of press office and PR consultancies. Working closely with the Comms teams and PR companies they helped these gym and health club spokespeople to develop messages and answers that they were comfortable with. Authentic communication is one thing that we’re very keen on. We then exposed them to realistic interviews.

“Every question you said would come up, came up,” one senior executive told us after recording a TV interview. “It was such a relief to have rehearsed it all.”

The media will always be interested in health and fitness because it’s so relevant to different audiences and there’s always a new trend or work out. However, journalists will never tire of looking for trouble and scandal too.  That’s why personal trainers, gym managers and personal trainers need to practice their interview techniques and train their media interview muscles.

 

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Posted by Simon Brooke on at

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