We know that business owners and spokespeople are being/going to be approached by the media to give interviews and statements during the coronavirus crisis. We’re here to offer media training support, for a reasonable price, to anyone who needs it urgently with an online session (scroll to the bottom of this blog to find out how we can help).
We’re in a global crisis and there’s so much uncertainty. UK schools will close as of today, many of us are working from home and the majority of businesses are hugely anxious – topped with the fact there’s a real risk to people’s health.
The media has an important information-sharing job to do.
It has 24 hours of rolling coronavirus-related news to provide daily. Many spokespeople at organisations and experts will be approached to give an interview or to provide comment, where they might be able to offer useful insight to do with anything related to the crisis.
It’s important to be fully prepared and to use the correct language, as well as other things, when giving an official statement – and absolutely so at the time of a crisis. Even one of the people expected to communicate effectively at the highest level, Boris Johnson, has been consistently criticised this week for use of indirect and ambiguous language at press conferences, like for example when he said people ‘should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues’.
We want to offer people who might be in need of media training (such as before a big interview) an online session – as we know how important it is to get it right – see details below. Though here are some key media training pointers that are a good place to start!
- Prepare. You should consider the possible questions (including the more difficult ones) that you’ll be asked and how you’ll answer them. It’s best to prepare your answers so you can make sure they include your key messages and the main points you want to get across. And it’s always worth asking the media outlet if you can see the questions in advance – they might (not always) share them with you!
- Have a clear outcome in mind. This should be done at the preparation stage. Consider what outcome you want your interview to have – what do you want the audience to take away from what you say (e.g. a call to action) and how do you want your organisation to be perceived? By having a clear goal in mind will help you to stay on point during your delivery.
- Rule of three. Any great speech or statement follows the rule of three. Never go to an interview armed with more than three key messages that you want to get across. Your audience will be able to remember three – anything more, what you’re trying to get across might be lost!
- Practice how to segue (or also known as the bridging technique). A segue is a smooth transition from one topic to the next one and is a great way to bat away a really difficult or irrelevant questions and bring it back to the key points you want to focus on. An example answer might be: “I don’t know much about that, but what I do know is…”. We can see interviewees overuse this technique – so you can always humanise a segue by also adding something like “that’s a great question” or “I sympathise that a lot of people are facing this issue…” at the front of it (whatever is relevant).
- Use direct language. Any room for ambiguity in what you’re saying can cause confusion. When you’re trying to get an important message across in an interview, make sure the language you use is as direct as possible.
- Pace. By allowing yourself a steady pace during the interview will ensure you appear calm and transparent, while you focus on delivering the key points you want to get across, without seeming overly scripted and robot-like!
- Be mindful of body language. Everyone knows that body language (like facial expressions, gestures and posture) makes up more of our communication than what we say. Some tips are: ensure you’re sat or stood with an open expression (e.g. no crossed arms or slouching), be mindful of facial reactions when being asked questions (otherwise you might be made into a really good GIF!) and make sure you maintain good eye contact either with the camera or the interviewer.
- Watch/listen afterwards. Practice makes perfect, and this is true for media training. Always watch/listen to your interviews and comments afterwards so you can see how you came across, if what you said did the job you hoped for and so you can see what might help for next time!
How we can help:
If you’re approached by the media and could really do with some support, we’re happy to offer a one-two hour, media training session online (via Google Hangout) for a reasonable price.
Also – if you have a strong message that you think is important to share with the media at the moment, we can help with pitching you out!