Media Training Matters


“I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse” ~King Charles V

The importance of tailoring your message to your audience simply cannot be overstated. For example, the type of speech President Obama delivers at a campaign rally is vastly different from one he might present to a less sympathetic audience. The same is true for media interviews. Your tone and message vary depending on who the interviewer is or which outlet the interview will appear in.

To get some insight on this, I sat down with someone I trust to give our clients the skills they need to hit every interview out of the park: Loretta Lepore of Lepore Associates. Here are a few of my questions and Loretta’s answers.

Why is media training so important? 

Media training not only provides our clients with an understanding of the interview basics, it also instills a level of confidence that allows them to be much more comfortable and engaging with reporters, hosts and the audience.   A lack of familiarity with how the media works can, and often does, result in cumbersome and awkward on-air moments.

What makes a great TV guest?

The three primary ingredients are authenticity, engagement and expertise.

In other words, be who you are.  LISTEN as well as speak with passion or excitement for the issue.  Finally, subject matter expertise and the ability to communicate it will set you apart from the crowd.

If someone already has media experience, do they still need training?

Yes.

Just because you may have encountered the media does not necessarily mean that you are prepared for the media.  A tried and true media trainer will help you avoid the pitfalls that you may not see coming, but that she knows from experience are ahead of you.

As a young reporter, what’s the best tip you ever got about being good on air?

Never rush to the mic, even if you are late.

Very early in my career, I had a job that required me to feed, or broadcast, noteworthy news clips of the day to affiliate stations across the country.   One day, I got caught up in a project and lost track of time.  I quickly gathered up all of my materials and ran to the broadcast booth.  Huffing and puffing, I announced each sound bite.   When I was done, I walked back to the newsroom where everyone had been monitoring the feed.   One of the news anchors that I most admired, simply said to me in his deep, calm voice “never rush to the mic”.  He was using this teachable moment to help me understand the value of not only being prepared but the importance of maintaining your composure, and therefore your credibility, no matter what the circumstance.  I have never forgotten those few words and they have served me well throughout my career.

Watch for exciting developments about a new service Loretta and I will be offering soon! MediaBar is a customized media training and placement service designed specifically for attorneys (and soon other professionals too!) who want to raise the bar on their communications.  See more at www.mediabarservices.com

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