“Media” Training – It’s about the message

by Dan Ward

Heard today from yet another person who sat through a “media training” session that focused more on what to wear and how to stand than on what to say. 

This isn’t a sales pitch (though if you need training, feel free to give me a call), but there’s a reason why our firm offers “message training” instead of media training. 

If you don’t already know better than to wear your Marvin the Martian tie and slouch during a TV interview, chances are you shouldn’t be the one on camera.  Most of the people we train do know better, so rather than spend time worrying about number of smiles per minute of air time, we talk about message. 

Crafting your message and having a strategy for how to consistently communicate it is critical, no matter the audience or setting.

Thanks to smart phones and YouTube, everyone is a journalist.  Anyone you interact with should be considered a member of the media.  Any group to which you present will have attendees who tweet what you say.  Shouldn’t you prepare for that every bit as hard as you prepare for a media interview?

3 Responses to “Media” Training – It’s about the message

  1. Dan –

    You’re absolutely right that the message is critical to an effective media interview. But I’m afraid you minimize the value of delivering the message through the proper use of body language elements.

    Good media training incorporates both elements. A perfect message is underminded by a lack of consistent eye contact, a passionless performance, or a stilted verbal delivery. Dismissing delivery elements as things that should be obvious (picking a good tie and sitting up straight) ignores the experience of the vast majority of our clients, whose delivery challenges aren’t quite so straightforward.

    Respectfully, I think you’ve drawn the same flawed conclusion of those you criticize – but instead of choosing delivery over message, you’ve chosen message over delivery. Both elements are critical, and spokespersons shouldn’t have to choose one over the other.

    Simply put, the best media interviews are those in which message and delivery are working in alignment with one another.

    Best wishes,
    Brad Phillips
    Author, Mr. Media Training

  2. Roger Pynn says:

    Brad …

    Sorry, but you may have missed the point of Dan’s post.

    Of course we address those who make poor eye contact, fidget or fail to emphasize … but all the style points in the world won’t save an interview that lacks substance. Just today we were dealing with the challenge of a well-trained client who nails his message but too frequently leans on a crutch by preceding his most important point with “I think.”

    Of course he thinks it, but it is critical to deliver your key message forcefully and state it, rather than minimize or trivialize it as just an opinion. You’ve got the stage because the media has singled you out as an authority. Media folks don’t chase down the best looking spokesperson. They want to interview someone of substance.

    Interesting when we consider the glamour contests too many broadcasters use to choose talent.

    Every time I hear this discussion, I’m reminded of Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian academic who tried to tell us “the medium is the message.” He was wrong then and would be wrong now.

  3. […] a portion of Ward’s original article:  “Heard today from yet another person who sat through a “media training” session that […]

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