Radio and TV shows, particularly at a national level, cannot afford to have nervous, incoherent spokespeople who will make the channel as well as themselves look bad. This is why they so often revert to the same old cast of trusted ‘regulars’ for commentary and analysis. It is because the producer knows they will deliver, and does not want to get it in the neck by putting forward an untried name who then goes on and doesn’t perform. You need to be confident that when you put somebody forward to represent your organisation, they can perform consistently—after all, they are representing your brand. The ability to use clear, jargon-free language is important here. Key spokespeople—and you should have backups in case the boss is away or unavailable—should be smart enough to keep their media skills in trim by having ‘refresher’ media training every so often. It is also a good idea to take opportunities to appear on smaller radio stations or talk to journalists from more obscure publications—it’s all good practice for when the big invitation comes to appear on Newsnight, or for when the nationals are showing interest. When that opportunity comes up, it is nearly always too late to arrange the training; there is unlikely to be time for much more than a quick bit of interview practice with your PR adviser. (Taken from the book The M-Factor by Tom Maddocks.)
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