Many executives we meet hate the fact that they cannot really control what journalists write—this makes media interviews too risky in their view, especially if they are engaged in any activity as a company which is not universally popular, such as banking. Yet there are many easy steps you can take to reduce (although not eliminate) the risk; this is where effective preparation and media coaching come in. It is also true that journalists, being human beings, are far from perfect. They may get things wrong, usually through genuine error rather than malign intent. Reporters may speak to several sources, and get contrasting views of what happened in a particular situation; there is rarely just one view of ‘the truth’. Others will sometimes have a different perception from you, and this may be reflected in the finished article. The best advice here is ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’—get a sense of perspective. We frequently hear of executives who get incredibly angry over the one article about them that gets something wrong, forgetting about the positive publicity they have had from the other ten which were broadly accurate. Small errors may seem important to you but will usually go unnoticed to the great majority of readers and are unlikely to sway their opinion of your organisation so long as the general gist is fair and accurate.
We can now offer on-camera and autocue skills coaching for spokespeople who have to present online video material or webinars.
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