Whether your client is a “PR Virgin” or a veteran of multiple media encounters, media and message training are vital to conducting successful interviews.
Media training can be defined as preparation for an interview, including counseling and rehearsal conducted prior to the interview or appearance on radio or TV. A media training session strengthens communications skills and helps develop a comfort and confidence for getting key message points delivered when talking with reporters. “Refresher courses” after interviews are also vital.
We recently worked with an author whose native language was not English and whose message was a bit complex. The training session included a professional media trainer and a cadre of PR professionals.
Here are some of the takeaways from that session:
Brainstorm every possible key message point. Then narrow down to three.
Of your three key points, state your most important one first. Don’t bury your main message.
Answer the question YOU want to address. But don’t dodge questions! Answer in eight seconds or less, then bridge back to your main point. Devise two or three segues to steer the answer your way. Practice them in role-play sessions.
If needed, repeat the interviewer’s question aloud to give yourself time to gather your thoughts.
Repeat your message often using different examples, phrases, and ordering.
Remember that a single vivid example is worth a thousand boilerplate message points.
All the media training in the world is worth nothing unless your client “buys” into it and practices. The proof will be in the ever-improving interviews he or she gives. What media training tips have been effective for you?