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Why you need media training

Why you need media training.

One of the pictures I like to paint when speaking about media training is to compare your media performance to playing tennis. Sure, you can pick up a racquet and get out onto the court. You more than likely played as a youngster and had reached a certain level of competency and skill. But as you grew older you picked up some bad habits – your footwork got lazy, the backswing is shorter, your serve drops in consistency. You keep making the same mistakes and there is no improvement  – you probably got worse.  But take a few lessons from a tennis coach, and combined with a little bit of training to beat out the bad habits, you improve your game and regain the confidence to work on and develop your skills.

Media training is no different. Anyone who is responsible for the communications and leadership of their business needs mentoring, training and guidance to deliver their best performance in front of the media. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business owner or the CEO of an ASX listed company.

So what can media training do for you? What can and should you walk away with after a session? Who should you choose to media train you?

Confidence is the real winner here. If you don’t walk away from a session of media training brimming with confidence and enthusiasm, then you might need to look at getting a new trainer. You need confidence to work with a journalist, to think on your feet and understand the media cycle. Knowing what media expects from you and what you can expect from media is crucial.

Calm the fear of media. The fear of being misquoted, saying the wrong thing, or making a fool of yourself in front of views, listeners, colleagues and industry peers. This fear is real and you won’t be the only one who has suffered from it. It’s natural to have some fear of the media, but you can certainly learn to control it and harness its energy to your benefit. Anyone who walks into a media engagement that doesn’t have some adrenalin running and a touch of nerves, isn’t really prepared properly. A good trainer is going to help you to use that fear and nervous energy, to your advantage.

Delivery and communication of your messages reaches new levels that not only work for the media but also for delivering keynotes, public-speaking, sales presentations and the like. You’ll learn to consider your audience and timeframes – you’ll become more conscious of what you are saying, how you are saying it and how you look. Each element contributes to improving your ability to communicate to an audience.

There are many tactics to consider when working with the media. To know when to answer or when to hold back. To know how to deflect negative questioning and what to do when you don’t know the answer or how to respond. Experienced media trainers are masters in helping you present and give you the tools to deliver under any circumstances..

Be prepared. Being prepared is the most comforting feeling one can have when you’re about to deal with media.  A little like the way we buy insurance for our cars or house, having that peace of mind that should anything happen, you are covered, ready to respond, and have the tools to engage.

Media training isn’t crisis management, but it should be part of a crisis management plan, which can be a common reason for any business to engage a media trainer. Sure, it is important if you and your business are susceptible to negative coverage but there are much greater benefits than being a purely reactive participant in the media. Proactive media engagement, positive public relations, establishing authority and expertise, brand positioning, raising publicity and awareness are just some of the benefits and rewards that media training will help you achieve.

Every media trainer is different, as is every tennis coach. But it’s important to find the right trainer that has experience in your sector and your needs. A trainer that understands what is required and the challenges you and your industry might face in media. There are some very good trainers out there but there are also questionable ones. This year Media Stable launched a vetted and qualified directory of trainers, so that you can choose with confidence. https://www.mediastable.com.au/home/media-training/

By Nic Hayes, Managing Director, Media Stable.

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