We all know what media training is for — synthesizing talk tracks, nailing soundbites, bridging from tough questions to nuanced answers, and more. What we might not realize are the intangible benefits that come from a solid training session. Here are just a few of those hidden benefits to consider:
Extracting “diamonds” from the narrative rough.
A media training is a chance to unearth hidden messaging treasures below the surface. During a well-designed training, C-suite executives tend to be strongest at articulating the business rationale behind specific initiatives or strategies, and subject-matter experts often share color that helps make a company’s story – and subsequently, its pitch to the media — more compelling.
Pressure-testing, synthesizing and prioritizing messages.
Let’s face it. Those large briefing books are helpful background reading, particularly when you need help falling asleep at night. But they aren’t practical. The average person doesn’t speak the way marketing messages are written, and media interviews don’t allow enough time or space for executives to relay pages of memorized content. Media training is a great way to get executive buy-in on positions that push boundaries and turn heads.
Fostering c-suite appreciation for the power of persuasive communication.
Often, executives gain a new appreciation for the role of Corporate Comms during media training. Effective internal communication has been shown to boost morale, increase productivity and raise employee satisfaction levels. External communication can boost brand awareness and shape a company’s reputation. Never before has the role of effective communications been more important, and media training can help to spotlight the keyboard heroes who do this work every day.
Bringing awareness to potential issues on the horizon.
Many times, a comms team doesn’t have the time or inclination to engage in issues and crisis preparedness because they have too much on their plate to see past the next week, or it’s simply not in their job description. Other times, c-suite executives are far removed from stakeholder perceptions and gripes. Media trainers are skilled at spotting vulnerabilities and potential threats that may be creeping up around the corner. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as Benjamin Franklin once famously advised. Media training is often helpful to remind executives that preventing fires is better than fighting them.
Exposing the consequences of sharing controversial opinions during interviews.
A skilled media trainer realizes that it’s her job to bring out the very best in the trainee. Sometimes, this can involve saving a very well-intentioned executive from a major gaffe by challenging them to think about how a particular message track will serve their business — and how it will be perceived by various stakeholder audiences. By personifying a wary reporter or a consumer with differing political or societal views, media trainers are able to open up an executive’s mind to the consequences of verbalizing things like political opinions or other irrelevant sentiments that don’t align with the company’s purpose or values.
Educating executives on the limitations of communications and consequences of troubling business practices.
You can’t “spin” your way out of bad business practices, sloppy operations or a pattern of consistently breaking customer service promises. The art of communication has its limits, and there are only so many times that a company can apologize or give reassurance to stakeholders before its reputation tanks. Media trainers can fight the good fight, illuminating the consequences of continuing on a troubled path. This may be done in practice interviews through the lens of a reporter. Questions that begin with “why should we trust your company when…” or “how would you respond to customers” tend to accomplish this goal. Here’s where you might imagine Tom Cruise vehemently shouting, “you can’t handle the truth.” And we have seen first-hand when executives have decided to improve business practices because they couldn’t handle the hot spotlight of a tough interview scenario through training.
For more information on the M Booth persuasive communications and media training capabilities, please contact MargoS@mbooth.com.