How to convince someone they need media training?


I’ve begun the year with a flurry of bookings for media training – I have eight sessions to run over January and February. This is great, because I love doing media training.

I enjoy putting forward my ideas on how to perform well in media interviews, and the roleplays are always fun, but what I think I enjoy the most about media training is spending four hours shifting the perceptions of Chief Executives, MDs and other senior people about how to deal with journalists, what they can get out of the media, and even about the need for training in the first place.

Almost without exception senior people begin these sessions with arms folded, eyebrows raised, and a high degree of scepticism in their voices. They’ve got plenty of other important work to be doing. They don’t need to spend half a day listening to a journalist tell them how to do an interview. They know what they’re talking about and if interviews go badly it’s because the journalist is either incompetent or malicious.

Four hours later they’re fully engaged, doing a roleplay and putting into practice what they’ve learnt into the session. Almost without exception they conclude the session by telling me they really didn’t want to do this training, but it’s been remarkably worthwhile and they want the rest of their senior team to do it.

Now, who wouldn’t enjoy that sort of feedback?!

I’m sure this is a scenario many of you will identify with. If you work in PR you’re probably very used to dealing with senior executives who at first don’t understand the media and are very sceptical and suspicious. You’ve probably also had that joyous moment when they do get it for the first time. But it probably doesn’t happen with everyone — many just won’t listen to your strategic advice, invest in media relations resource, or agree to any skills training.

So, I’m going to give you a tool to help break down those tricky mediaphobes. For each of the next five days, beginning tomorrow, I’m going to post something to look out for in how they approach media interviews.

If you’ve got a senior executive who you suspect could get better coverage from the interview opportunities you provide for him or her, check to see if they’re doing each of these things.

If they’re not doing all of them then they’re not performing as well as they could be and they would benefit from media training. You will also have concrete evidence to put to them to persuade them that this is something they need. You can explain to them that media training will improve how they do X and here was an example of where they would have had a better outcome from an interview if they’d done X.

I hope this is helpful. To get these tips delivered to your e-mail inbox over the next five days you can subscribe to this blog very easily by popping your e-mail address where prompted in the column to the right.

Let me know how you get on….

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