5 Must-Know Media Training Tips for Executives
Updated: Feb 2
When living life (either professionally or personally) in the public eye, it is extremely important that individuals receive proper media training in order to communicate clearly and concisely with journalists. Executive media training helps individuals to gain confidence, stay focused, be mindful of their body language, and how to maintain strong and positive media relations. This article will cover the 5 must know media training tips for executives.
1. Always Say Yes
This goes for media interviews, interviews, public speaking, or a radio interview: always say yes. Anytime you have a chance to be interviewed, you have the opportunity to control your own narrative and convey the message that you want to convey. If you find yourself shying away from journalists, reporter's questions, tough questions or simply dreading the next media interview, your company's reputation will suffer and will ultimately create a bad situation which may take some time and effort to undo. By saying yes to every speaking opportunity, you are building confidence to answer any challenging questions that may present themselves. Once you start saying yes to these opportunities, you will be surprised how effortless you will find your next media interview!
Tip: Partake in an executive media training program or source yourself media training services in the days leading up to your next speaking event. This way, if you are dreading the interview, you will be prepared with fresh information at the top of mind, and therefore less likely to turn down the media coverage event!
2. Remember That You Are in Control
An important media training tip to remember is that you are the one who is in control. When you are in the spotlight, it is easy to let information slip, forget key messages, or spill company news before it is ready to be shared. This is because as humans, we tend to talk to fill silences, and sometimes speak unintentionally when put on the spot knowing there are many eyeballs watching and listening to every word that comes out of our mouth. But remember: you are in control. Part of a journalists job is to ask the hard hitting and uncomfortable questions. They will ask the questions that the audience wants to know the answers to, and will sometimes press until they get their desired answer. However, it is important that you prepare before media interviews, so that you know what information you want and are allowed to share, and including the information that is off limits. Your answers control the direction of the interview, so take your time to gather your thoughts, the key points you want to relay and the overall direction you want to see the interview move in. Pause or take a sip of water if you need a second to collect yourself and form a thoughtful answer, and never feel pressured to say the first thing that comes to mind. When in a media interview, it is crucial you move at a pace that you are comfortable with. After all, you have all of the answers, so it is completely on your own terms.
3. Watch Your Body Language
When in the public eye and especially when public speaking, it is extremely important that you are in tune with the nonverbal cues that you are portraying. Think of it this way: someone could be giving the best interview of their life, answering the reporters questions clearly and have evidently done their research before entering the interview. But if they are not making eye contact with the reporter, have their arms crossed, are not speaking in the right tone or have bad or overly dramatic facial expressions, whatever it is they are saying becomes null. This is because our nonverbal body language says more about us and how we are feeling than spoken word. This is why it is extremely important to be in tune with your body language, as it can send the wrong message and has the potential to make a bad situation worse.
Tip: practice and prepare for your upcoming interview while looking at yourself in the mirror. This way, you can be in tune with the message your nonverbal cues will be sending. Remember that your body language also tells a story: make it a positive one!
4. Know the Tone of the Media Interview
Knowing the tone of your upcoming media interview is so important, and may come as second nature once you have executive media training. It is important not to enter your media interview or radio interview completely tone deaf, as it does not paint you or your company in the best light. If you are partaking in crisis communications for example, it is important that you stay calm, enter the interview prepared, engage in serious conversation and respond to questions appropriately. If you enter a serious situation joking, laughing and using poor speaking techniques, reporters, the media and the general population will not take you seriously. This will cause serious harm to the image you have worked so hard to maintain, and will negatively effect your public relations and image. It will create a nightmare for your pr team, and opens up the opportunity for sound bites from your interview to be negatively used, further damaging your image. Know the tone and act accordingly.
5. Do Your Research
Lastly, ensure that you are doing your research prior to meeting with the media. It is important that you have carefully thought out potential questions and have formed strong bullet point answers for them. You must have a clear media strategy formed, with key points and key messages identified. This will ensure you stay on track during your interview, and portray yourself as someone who cares about the topic at hand. If you show up unprepared to your interview, making up answers as you go and responding to reporters in an unprofessional manner, you are leaving the impression that you are unprepared and potentially do not know what you are talking about. Avoid this by partaking in executive media training; knowing how to properly do your research prior to your interviews will soon come second nature!