Are we asking someone who goes jogging on a Sunday morning to run a marathon without any proper training? Can you ever picture yourself attending an important business meeting in your company without being fully prepared? Media training follows the same logic. You don’t address a general audience by replying to a journalist without any preparation. It’s a high-level exercise that can have serious consequences for the person concerned and the company or institution they represent.
The idea is not to turn leading figures into machines for repeating ready-made speeches. It’s quite the opposite. Standardising messages would make them inaudible. Media training aims to prepare individuals with the skills they need to express themselves with clarity, responsibility and authenticity. Being comfortable and well-prepared makes it easier for you to be yourself and get your message across despite the stress of media pressure, which often requires immediate answers.
It cannot be improvised. Media training helps speakers to organise their ideas in a simple and concise way so that they are clear and understandable. Even though leaders may have a natural sense of communication, most men and women who run companies or institutions do not have mastering media dialectics as a daily priority. Hence the importance of media training in structuring your thoughts and formalising your arguments to avoid the stress which generates confusing statements, omissions or mistakes, which are often wrongly perceived as an attempt to conceal something.
The media have their own standards, codes and specific expectations. Journalists have their questions ready, so the interviewee must work on his or her answers. These answers may not please everyone, but they must be both accurate and well-argued. The difference will lie in the clarity, tone and perceived authenticity of the speaker. By applying a combination of strong training tailored to each situation, we help to create a media dialogue that is powerful, transparent and sincere. So, media training is clearly not the enemy of sincerity – in fact, it’s an ally!
Stephan Post, Partner