by Neil Kuvin
You’re reading this, so you’re likely in a leadership position. Do you, however, consider yourself someone who develops Thought Leadership Strategy for your company or agency? Because you likely said “yes,” you’re a candidate for media training. Even the most seasoned spokesperson – including the CEO – needs media training and regular refresher sessions. It’s important not to lose sight of this as part of your Thought Leader Strategy.
Our PR agency provides media training sessions to clients as both one of the many services we provide, as well as hiring our training sessions out to ad agencies and clients as a one-time or “series of…” services. There have been several times when we previously worked with a CEO who just didn’t think what we do was important enough for him to take the time and effort to avail himself of our training. Despite our repeated attempts to counsel and even warn him about the damage that could result from not being prepared, he accepted what he thought would be a friendly interview with a major local newscast reporter. Well, friendly it was not and the CEO failed miserably at managing the situation.
If you’re still not convinced, let’s talk about media training in terms a CEO most DEFINITELY will understand. Media training = interview preparation. Getting ready for a news interview is as important, if not more so, than planning a business meeting – and not just during crisis communication. After all, when you’re speaking with the media, your responses reach audiences well beyond the conference room. In addition, different communication techniques are required when utilizing the voice of the media to influence vs. directly communicating with your audience as you do at a meeting.
So, what’s interview preparation? Why would you prepare for hours, maybe days, for a board meeting and not spend the time to inform yourself how best to prepare for that “jerk” from the major TV station in your city who got wind of a serious breach of ethics within your company and is now on the phone wanting to meet with you as soon as possible. And if you blow her off you and the company will get the “couldn’t be reached for comment” comment on the newscast that only positions you as the “jerk” that wouldn’t talk to the media.
Remember your role with the company is more than financial leadership. It’s definitely thought leadership insofar as how you handle yourself on camera and in print, as well as your knowledge of the company as a provider of products or services to your customers. And as a thought leader your role is as important for messaging in every way you can. The most successful sound bit is the ability to provide responses in a comprehensive yet concise manner. That takes practice.
Media Training can turn a mediocre or failed interview into a memorable one. It just takes time and thought. You’re the leader. Spend both of those elements in making you and your company a winner.