The media can often be seen as a scary thing, especially if you’re being interviewed on camera, over the airwaves or for a newspaper report. And it’s likely that at some point every organisation – be it a council, a private company or a charity – could be called to speak on camera or radio.
But journalists aren’t a group of people you should be afraid of. In fact, they can be one of your most vital assets when it comes to telling your story – and through them, you have a chance to reach customers, clients, community groups or anyone else you want.
We’re recently helped one of our clients get to grips with how to handle a media enquiry, stay cool under pressure and come up with an engaging but appropriate response to interview questions. The training gave our clients a new perspective and helped them to understand the role the media can play – both negative and positive – in shaping their reputation.
They learned how in any media interview it is important to:
• tell the truth (clear and accurate information)
• go straight to the point and MAKE IT INTERESTING
• use interesting examples to help add colour and emotion to a subject
• avoid jargon – you might understand it, but the odds are the audience won’t
But what about the bad news? After chatting it through, it was understood that the words “no comment” are a taboo phrase as far as we’re concerned. The best thing is to always make a statement, if only to put across a message of sympathy, or have a chance to put your version of events across.
• show concern and apologise if you need to
• tell people what action you’re taking
• give examples to support and give credibility to your reassurance
Media training was a great way to help our clients understand how to engage with journalists, what to say
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and when, and how to handle publicity once it’s happened. It’s something we’d recommend for any organisation… and our door’s always open!