As we move firmly into 2013 I have been reflecting on the importance of media training – and the importance of getting it right. On Boxing Day BBC Radio 4 carried an item on the topic (as Course Director I was invited to take part, and would have done so but was away working with an overseas client on the day of the recording). The presenter was complaining about the number of people who come on to a programme like You and Yours who have been badly media trained – so they annoy interviewers by interrupting the opening question with ‘good afternoon’ and how ‘great it is to be here on the programme’ – and then probably don’t answer the questions anyway.
Their leaders were not properly prepared for the media challenge, and they and their organisations paid the priceMore seriously organisations as diverse as the BBC, BP and Starbucks have shown the importance of getting it right in times of crisis. Their leaders were not properly prepared for the media challenge, and they and their organisations paid the price. By contrast a figure like Lord Coe, leading the Olympics effort, has shown the inspiring power of a clear and powerful message, well-delivered. Effective media and presentation coaching is not just about the cosmetics, something a business leader or spokesperson can do once, and then imagine the box has been ticked. It is about ensuring your positioning is effective, you are making the most of your opportunities, and that you are equipped to deal with tough questions, whether from a journalist or as part of your internal or client communications. As issues and expectations change, and maybe people get rusty, media training is something that needs to be done, and done right – and more often than once every five or ten years.
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