Talking to media may sound like a simple thing but, much like public speaking, it often fills our clients with fear. Most of this fear comes from feeling unprepared so we offer media training to our clients to get them comfortable with talking to press for all types of opportunities: online, print or broadcast.
Recently, we hosted a half-day session with the senior team at Snap Fitness to give them the basic tools to nail any sort of interview.
This introductory session covered many essential techniques including how to nail your key messages, speaking tips for giving a good interview, what to wear for broadcast opportunities and how to handle tricky situations like crises or more sensitive topics.
One of the key skills we covered in the training was something called Bridging. Bridging is a classic interview technique that helps a spokesperson stay on topic. For example, if your subject is treadmills, and the interviewer asks you about weight training, bridging techniques can help you take control of the interview and bring it back to the topic you want to talk about without it seeming awkward or forced.
It sounds like a simple skill, but it is much harder to do in real life. To practice this technique, we posed a series of tough questions to the team and asked them to bridge back to their key messages. To help them, we offered a variety of bridging phrases to use like:
- “It’s important to consider…”
- “And what’s more important to know is…”
- “What matters most in this situation is…”
- “Actually, that relates to a bigger issue…”
- “I can’t speak on his/her/their behalf but for myself/Snap Fitness I can tell you that….”
Afterward, we debriefed on the answers, identifying highlights and areas for improvement.
In many media training sessions, we can also help facilitate mock interviews where we pose as the journalist and record our client’s answers. We then review the footage together and evaluate it. Most clients find this to be a nerve-wracking and difficult task, but it is one of the best ways to put the interview techniques in action. After all, practice makes perfect.
In this particular session with Snap Fitness, we tried a slightly different approach where we reviewed a series of broadcast interviews with national news outlets on YouTube and then debriefed as a team on what the interviewee did well and what they did poorly. We selected a variety of videos. Some were excellent and others were total disasters. It made for a lively discussion and allowed the team to easily identify the techniques we discussed in the earlier part of the training session.
One of the biggest challenges for the Action PR team can be landing an opportunity for a client, only to find out that they do not have someone internally who is confident enough to speak to a journalist. In some instances, we have had to decline opportunities for this reason. But with a couple hours dedicated to media training, we can stop this from happening. And now, for any opportunity that arises for Snap Fitness, we know there is a capable and confident team member that is not only happy to talk to a journalist, but has the skills required to effectively convey their key messages too.
Does speaking to the media fill you with fear? Get in touch. We can help.