Adoni Media: Australia’s most experienced media training team
Effective communication requires CEOs, executives, and key spokespeople to be clear, concise, and confident in media interviews, press conferences, and presentations.
Understanding how the media works, having the skills to shape messaging, and the ability to present and connect with your target audiences helps you and your organisation to promote and protect your brand.
Understanding the media
Journalists make media interview requests for a number of reasons. It might be a controversial story or scandal where people and/or organisations are pitted against each other. It might be the announcement of something new such as a new technology, service, or research. Your organisation might also have a high profile, so even small events are significant and make news.
Regardless of what has prompted their interest, there are benefits to saying “yes” when the media calls. It can be an opportunity to promote and protect your brand, and build authority.
Saying “no comment” is a missed opportunity. It can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, it can make you appear untrustworthy, and it can portray a lack of empathy.
It also allows someone else to tell your story and in times of crisis, this approach can cause more harm to your reputation because you are not controlling the narrative.
When the media calls
What do you do when the media calls?
Think like a journalist. Ask the same questions they ask you: who, what, where, when, and why? Always buy time to prepare what to say and always respect their deadline.
Preparing and practising your key messaging is important, just as important as organising the interview location and time, and deciding what you will wear if it is a television interview. Presentation is just as much about how you look as it is about what you say and how you say it.
The media interview
The most critical step in preparing for a media interview is knowing exactly what you want to say to the audience and how you are going to say it.
To speak with confidence, you need to know how to respond to the tricks used by journalists, which can include rapid-fire questioning, trying to get you to repeat sensational language, and pausing so you feel uncomfortable and fill the silence.
How to control an interview
To help you stay in control in an interview, you can master a few techniques:
- Pause before you speak. It helps to calm your nerves, improves your delivery, and gives you time to think to answer questions the way you want to.
- If you stumble: stop, pause, and deliver your answer again.
- Never rush. If you feel you need more time, ask the journalist to repeat the question.
Adoni Media’s Founder and Managing Director, Leisa Goddard, says: “If you are ambushed by a journalist, make sure you stay calm, plan what you are going to say, and have an exit strategy. Do not run, do not touch the camera, and do not push or shove as journalists love confrontation and these things will give reporters exactly what they want.”
How to answer difficult questions
Answering difficult questions is one of the most popular topics clients want to learn in media training.
If you are asked a question you don’t want to answer, use ‘bridging’ techniques to transition to your key messages. These are short phrases that allow you to provide an answer without using the words “no comment” and allow you to link naturally to what you do want to say.
Become a thought leader
One of your aims of being media trained may be to become a thought leader or ‘go-to’ commentator for your industry. This is one way to help raise your profile and increase brand awareness for your organisation. It is a worthwhile pursuit but takes commitment.
To become a commentator, you need to monitor the news cycle and identify issues where you can add value, you need to make reactive PR part of your media strategy, and you need to be ready to respond quickly to media requests. Journalists need experts who can put issues and news into perspective, and they love having contact books full of commentators who can provide trustworthy and credible information.
Australia’s most experienced media training team
At Adoni Media, our team of trainers are experts in news as well as media relations. We have decades of experience working in newsrooms around Australia and overseas as newsroom bosses, foreign correspondents, war correspondents, political correspondents, investigative journalists and producers for A Current Affair, senior radio journalists, and corporate affairs specialists.
We know how journalists think and what journalists are looking for in media interviews.
Since 2012, executives around Australia have trusted Adoni Media to train them to become skilled performers in the media and in public presentations, and to become effective spokespeople who are ready to say “yes” to media interviews.