There is a distinct need for senior management and staff to receive media awareness training as opposed to practical spokesperson coaching. Let me explain.
Companies traditionally appoint two to three spokespersons. The spokespeople (who are carefully chosen), need to receive hands on practical training in front of cameras, microphones and live audiences. This type of training is extremely expensive and time intensive and is normally conducted in a studio. Some trainers put spokespersons on the spot and then proceed to show them their weaknesses. This often breaks down people self-confidence levels and should be avoided (You cannot build on sand). Spokesperson training should be positive and uplifting and conducted in simulated environments.
However they also need “contextual” training – training that will add to their understanding but that will be added on in a studio later.
I have decided to focus my training on the level of senior management & staff that needs media awareness understanding.
I teach them a context so that they understand the media stakeholder, how they operate and how to conduct themselves in a media interview situation. This is normally different to those people who speak to the media on a continual basis. It is better to use local providers for that type of training. It is more cost-effective as long as it is built on a base of solid understanding.
Often senior management are the people who have to formulate the messages that spokespersons need to convey or decide on an approach in dealing with the media. They therefore need to understand the media stakeholder, so that these messages and chance interactions with the media will be positive and uplifting. My favorite saying is that media relations need to be approached with strategic intent and if you do not know the rules of the game, how can you play it.
I believe that my recommended two-tier approach is the best for building sound media relations and reputation capacity in the organisation.
To this end, I present a one-day workshop called Media Survival Skills. In this workshop, we cover media awareness, understanding and the seven tools for better media interviews and various powerful and useful tips and suggestions. The day involves pulling newspapers apart, theoretical inputs, skill practices and case study analysis. Brochure available on request! I normally work with a group of ten people but group size is not a problem as long as it does not exceed fifteen.