I can’t tell you how often we hear that headline statement from CEOs or other company executives. Some of the very same traits that make people good leaders – expertise, confidence, ability to speak in public – also make leaders feel “I’ve got this one.” Interestingly enough, we also hear a variation of this from some mid-level managers who say “I’ll never be the company spokesperson so why do I need media training?” The answer is simple: talking to the media, doing interviews or handling unexpected media questions is not the same as talking to your leadership group or employees. And, you never know when you might find yourself in a media situation, even if you’re not the designated spokesperson. Being prepared is essential. Winging it is never a good idea. You want to get it right and you’ll most likely only have one shot to do so.
Good media training will help you understand what the media wants, what the current state of the media is like and how to prepare for media interviews; including techniques that help ensure you’ll get your main points across. It should also include role playing for potential media scenarios as well as videotaping of mock interviews or news conferences. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t do a big presentation without preparation and that’s what media training does; it prepares you to handle media situations. It’s also a good idea to do a little brush up on your media training every few years. The communications world is rapidly changing and that also impacts how you prepare for the media.
So the next time your communications team or consultant suggests media training don’t run for the door. Take the time to learn how to put your best messages forward. It could be the difference maker in your next media interview.