“I’m terrified,” said a participant in one of our Communicate Media training courses recently. It’s a regular confession at the start of the day – and it’s certainly not the first time we’ve heard it.
“Why?” asked our coach, an experienced working journalist and trainer.
It might sound like a facile question but exploring each person’s concerns about engaging with the media and their aims for the course is a key part of the way we work. The participant, a senior manager with a major PLC, looked surprised for a moment but then shared some of his anxieties with the group.
An acknowledgement of the power of the media (“one wrong word and your whole career could go down the toilet”) together with a lack of understanding of how it works and what journalists are looking for in an interview, a vague awareness as a viewer and listener of why some interviewees just don’t sound convincing, an urgent desire to know how to deal with difficult questions as well as how to handle nerves – all of these concerns were very understandable and were very familiar to us.
During this intensive, highly practical course we also discussed with the group the benefits that talking to the media can bring, such as raising the profile of an organisation, promoting a campaign and complementing advertising and marketing activity.
By the end of one of our intensive media training courses with its process of realistic role play interviews and constructive, expert feedback this participant had developed an understanding of what journalists who interview him are looking for. He had also found his own, authentic voice and had noted down a list of tricks and tips that he could use to engage audiences and to handle difficult questions.
It was great for our Communicate Media media training coach to see someone enjoy a series of those “light bulb moments” and to develop in confidence as the day progressed – and even better for the participant. Could we do the same for you? We believe so.