This is the tenth and last in a series of blog posts about what media training trainees think when they come to a session. We sum up, here, the overall expectations of trainees.
Very few executives, engineers, sales people and others who are pegged by their organizations to take media training know what to expect from a session. Most have a vague idea that they will be interviewed by a trainer but, beyond this, they are at sea.
We ask, at the beginning of many sessions, what trainees want to get out of the class. The answer is usually, “How to talk about the organization.” Seldom are trainees specific about their goals. They don’t talk about getting across pointed messages, about controlling interchanges with reporters or about using interviews to sell their products.
We believe media training should go well beyond basic interviewing techniques. There isn’t much point in looking and sounding professional if you have nothing to talk about, if all you expect to do is to answer questions asked by reporters or others, such as analysts. There isn’t much sense in having a script without being able to highlight the most important information in the script.
We include information about who the media are, what they want from ‘you’, what to do when journalists approach you, when they might call or visit and how long you have to prepare, and why you might want to speak with media reps. We also talk about how you should prepare, you should act and you should provide your messages. And we let trainees know how much they should say and when to stop talking!
Then we conduct interviews, as close to real as you can get, with questions about your organization, your role and your messages and tell you how to control much of the interchange. We also cover the rules that will keep foot-in-mouth disease at bay.
When you leave a media training class, you should know enough and have experienced enough to represent your organization exceedingly well and yourself as a professional. When you leave a class, you will know how to tell your own story, not that of the interviewer. .