As public relations professionals, we are often asked by company owners, presidents, and CEOs about media training. There are several typical questions that often arise.

  1. I’ve done media interviews, so why do I need media training?
  2. I have no intention of ever doing media interviews (leave that to someone else in the company), so why would I need media training?
  3. I’ve done the training. I know it’s valuable and I’d like a refresher and can you also train everyone else in our office?

No matter who you are, if you speak to anyone—groups, individuals, and/or the media, training will help you. It’s a valuable business tool in learning the art of the sound bite and how to get your point across as succinctly and effectively as possible. It will train you to “cut to the chase” when you’re speaking with other employees, colleagues, or the media.

Everyone benefits from media training and the key to becoming good at interviewing (and speaking in general) is through repetition and practice. If you’ve had media training, the opportunity to refresh your skills and learn about the ever-changing media landscape is always beneficial.

If you deal with media at all, then it is essential that you have media training. The press landscape is constantly changing with blurred lines between traditional and social media. With social media growing so rapidly, you can easily now set up your own media channels and reach equal or larger numbers of people on your own. But, you still need to know how to communicate your key messages; how to create a message platform and the art of the sound bite.

Everyone should have media training because everyone in a company represents that company to the outside world. They are the gatekeepers and the front line. More importantly, they are the company ambassadors and, if they don’t know what the company key messages are or how to best communicate the mission and vision of the company, they can never be part of elevating your brand and building your company reputation. They do not have to have permission to speak to media to communicate your brand. They’re communicating daily with neighbors, friends, and co-workers. In fact, in many instances, they’re more critical to your company messaging than a news story. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.

Even if you’re not the primary person in your company to speak with the media, being able to effectively communicate your brand messaging is extremely important. And, it’s not unusual for the person who isn’t supposed to be talking with the media to suddenly be thrust into the limelight when a crisis arises or the desired spokesperson is unavailable. 

In some of these cases, media training will teach you how to not speak to the media without raising red flags. We’ve all seen those 60 Minutes interviews where a camera is chasing someone across a parking lot. Those cameramen and reporters don’t just chase down the people who have had media training. A wrong answer or a misstep and you can quickly escalate a situation that may have been totally innocent.

Learning how to handle yourself in tough situations is also part of media training. Not only will it teach you to think before you speak, it will train your brain to run through various scenario outcomes before answering or agreeing to take the interview. It’s valuable training that, in addition to media interviews, translates to many other areas of business from speaking to colleagues and employees to addressing large groups and organizations, presenting research findings or answering the simple question—“what is it that you do?” 

You can also find several resources including a Public Relations Tool Kit, press release templates, and more, on the Academy’s website.