March 29, 2011

Preparation is king and queen: The importance of media training

It’s official: You’re about to appear on TV for the first time. Also official: The nerves are almost too much to bear. You know you need to represent your company well, but dozens of questions are running through your head: What if I freeze up? That deer in the headlights look is never attractive. What if the interviewer asks me something I can’t answer? What if they don’t address something about my company I think desperately needs to be covered? Am I supposed to talk to the interviewer or the camera? Help!

As with most things, preparation is crucial. Baseball great Brooks Robinson once said, “If you’re not practicing, somebody else is, somewhere, and he’ll be ready to take your job.”

That somebody could be one of your competitors. That first TV interview is your golden moment; knock it out of left field or risk future opportunities going to others in your industry. Ot may sound harsh, but remember this: When a producer invites you to take part in a segment, they’re trusting you with valuable airtime—and the station’s reputation (not to mention their own!) So, before you go on camera that first time, get media trained. Then, it will be your phone—not your competitor’s—that rings the next go-round.

A taste of training:

  • Don’t look directly at the camera. Unless you’re a veteran interviewee that can effectively—and sparsely—use the camera to your benefit, this is my number one advice.
  • Say your company name once in awhile. Viewers tune in at different intervals; you want them to know who you are or what you do.
  • Make the interviewer’s job easy; answer questions directly. Then, if you have more to add or fear your main points will be left out, appropriately add them. For instance: Interviewer: How long have you been practicing shiatsu on parrots? You: I’ve been practicing shiatsu on parrots for about 10 years. Most people don’t realize that parrots suffer from more osteoporosis than any other animal, so it’s important to begin monthly treatments by the age of six.

Completely made-up scenario, but the technique is tried and true. It’s called bridging and, if done right, it can help both you and the interviewer create a rich TV spot.

To learn more techniques or to find out more about media training, call us for a consultation.

About the Author

Brook Larios

Brook Larios

Brook's 14 years of professional communications experience spans newsroom reporting, national nonprofit and luxury public relations management and building a successful pr agency founded on uncommon connections and creativity. She's a lover of horses, fitness, reading, nature and good conversation. Zany and approachable, Brook prefers removing the surface rather than scratching it.