Media Training 101: What You Should Know

As a business executive or entrepreneur, one might hear that media training can benefit media and press-related endeavors. As practitioners, we must be able to direct our clients in the media, helping them comfortably get their message across to their intended audiences. At BLASTmedia, we help our clients put their best foot forward when participating in press tours, interviews, and media interactions.

A media training and coaching blog defines media training as, “learning how to tell your story in the most compelling and interesting way by taking control of an interview and transforming contentious questions into positive ‘on message’ answers.”

But media training does a little more than simply help you practice for an interview. It builds confidence when talking with the media and strengthens communication skills. This is important because it allows you to make clear statements, getting a crisp, comprehensive and lucid message across–allowing you to show your business, client, or product in the best light possible.

We’ve dug around and found some items both practitioners and clients should get out of media training:

The Message. The message is the most important aspect of an interview, whether it be in print, audio or television. You are in control of the message and what the audience will take away from the experience, so it’s vital to be clear and concise.

Jon Greer weighs in on bNET, saying “In today’s information-saturated world, none of us has time to wade through tiresome, poorly worded, jargon-laden business information. To get anyone’s attention, whether it is in the traditional media, in online media, in speeches, analyst meetings, employee communications—any communication platform—our information needs to be fresh, relevant, interesting, and timely.”

When we talk to the media, we need to know how they operate, what they are looking for and how to package our information in a way that will actually be included in their stories. Media training gives our clients the skills and tools to deliver information effectively.

Pick and Choose. Take a moment to ask yourself some questions before committing to a media opportunity. We as practitioners want to generate our clients coverage, including direct media interviews, but we must remember: Quality over Quantity. Some opportunities might not be a fit for the intended audience, allow our client to express a clear message, etc. Kalisa gives some insight into media opportunities on her blog, I’ll be the One in Heels. Below are her tips regarding picking and choosing media opportunities:

  • Ask yourself some key questions such as, is this a story you want your name tied to? What angle is the reporter taking? Who else are they interviewing? Do I have all the facts? How will my participation in this story make me look in the end? Is this even  news I want circulated?
  • No complaining! If you agree to be interviewed for a particular story, and they write about you in the context of that story and you don’t like it–you have to deal with it. At the end of the day, this story is the reporter’s story, not your story. This is why it’s important to be prepared and equipped to efficiently and effectively portray the message you would like audiences to understand.

Be Quotable. If you have great quotes, the reporter won’t have to use any liberty when trying to paint a picture of the desired message. Have quotes prepared and in your mind before going into the interview. It’s also helpful to create a list of words and phrases you feel will help you get your message across–and don’t forget to prioritize them in case you don’t have time to get to them all. By having these key phrases, quotes, and words in your mind, you will be more likely to clearly and comprehensively include them into well-crafted answers.

Actions Speak Louder than Words. More often than not, how you say something during an interview is more important than what you say. UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian’s landmark study in the 1960s examined how people derive meaning from communications. He found that:

  • 7% of meaning is derived from word choice
  • 38% of meaning is taken from verbal cues, such as volume, pitch and pace
  • 55% of meaning results from non-verbal cues, including body language, eye contact, gestures, and appearance

Because audiences will quickly determine whether or not they like you or trust you in seconds, it’s important to make sure your verbal and non-verbal messages match or compliment each other. Otherwise, they will effectively tune you out and disregard your message.

Media training gives you the tools and skills to effectively communicate with a variety of audiences, while giving clients, brands, or products positive media exposure. With the right tools and tips they receive with media training, clients will begin to understand the space in which they are able to promote themselves. They will create connections and relationships with audiences using their unique and genuine message–crafted and delivered clearly and effectively, of course!