Media training is a very effective way for anyone appearing on television or radio to deliver key messages. It helps to prepare individuals to communicate with confidence, handle potentially difficult questions and present an image to the public that represents your organisation’s values.
With televised broadcast PR, media training is particularly important because of the visual aspect. In a television or radio interview, non verbal communication, including body language and facial expressions, can be as important as what is said. A media trainer can help individuals become aware of these non verbal cues and learn how to use them effectively.
For example, looking down or avoiding eye contact during an interview could give the impression that someone is untrustworthy or lacking confidence. That person could just be very nervous about conducting an interview broadcast to thousands of people. With effective media training, these and other pitfalls can be identified and avoided.
Media training can also help individuals to stay on message, communicate key points clearly and avoid being caught off guard by unexpected questions. This is especially important for representatives of organisations, who might need to address sensitive or controversial issues.
Media training can also help individuals develop the skills they need to handle crisis communications effectively. In the event of a disaster, crisis or a situation that could have a negative impact on a brand or organisation being represented, the way an individual handles the situation can be critical to the organisation’s reputation and the public’s perception of them. Media trainers can help individuals learn how to communicate in a crisis, handle difficult questions and situations, and respond in a way that is both honest and effective.
In 2017, United Airlines faced such a crisis. An overbooked flight led to a passenger being violently removed. Instead of issuing a full apology and putting out the reputational fire that this could lead to, Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines at that time, only apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers due to having to reaccomodate flights. The full apology came a few days later. By that point, the damage had left a significant mark.
A better example of crisis communications was the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The crisis threatened to damage the reputation of BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies. BP’s PR team, led by CEO Tony Hayward, responded quickly and effectively to the crisis by implementing a comprehensive crisis management strategy. The team took a transparent and proactive approach to the crisis and communicated regularly with the public and the media. It was, in short, evidence of a highly trained professional response.
Media training is a vital tool for anyone communicating in broadcast PR situations. It can help individuals become more effective communicators, better handle difficult questions and situations and present a professional and polished image to the public. With televised interviews, what is shown can be just as important as the words spoken in an interview.