Being a good media trainer, coach, or advisor for your colleges, customers and clients, or anyone you want to help before any media interview can prove valuable. You don’t need to become a full-time professional trainer who does whole-day workshops and training sessions. It could be just a quick 5-minute prep with a colleague or client before an interview or backstage of a talk show. It is also not about the business side of media training, i.e., getting customers and clients, but tips that will help you be a good advisor, consultant, trainer, and expert for the people you work with.
The power of the positive
Starting with positivity is a good place to move forwards from with motivation and inspiration. It is better to tell people what they should do rather than telling them what they are not doing. Whether you are an in-house PR consultant, an outside PR agency, or just a friend and advisor or assistant of a person who will appear in a media interview, the first thing you can do to help them is ask them to practice by video recording. Just pull out your smartphone and record an interview in which you ask them questions that you think the host is likely to ask them in that interview, talk show, or press conference. Then make your client or college look at the video to see how they are performing. Don’t just stop here. Keep repeating it until you and your colleague like what you see when looking at the recording. Give them a video example of their job and to what extent it is perfect or needs improvement.
Talking isn’t training.
Do not talk too much during media training. There is a tendency of talking a lot during any training or course. There should be minimum time for you to talk and maximum time for the client to rehearse, practice and ask what they want to know. For example, if you are going to a piano class and all your teacher does is talk and talk and not play piano at all, you will not learn how to play the piano unless you practice playing extensively on your own time. Focus your energies on the rehearsals and getting them to tell you what they liked and didn’t like. The biggest flaw in the professional media training courses is that the trainer wants to talk about his excellent interview or what somebody did wrong in any media presentation. He fails to give appropriate time to the clients to improve their performance.
Questions are not the essential part.
Brainstorming with the questioning session is essential, but isolate the message or ideas and clarify what you want to convey to the audience. Just state the messages or ideas you want to convey on camera. Sometimes messages look good on paper but don’t sound good. At times when you say it, it feels good. You feel confident and comfortable about it.
The secret interview
A secret interview technique can help your client in a significant way during the training process. When you start recording an interview and put the lights and mike on, they suddenly tense up. Their head is frozen, and their face is blank. Their arms and hands are stiff. They look scared, awkward, nervous, and uncomfortable. As soon as you drop the mike and turn the lights off instantly their face comes alive; their eyebrows are moving, the light comes back to their eyes, their smile comes back, their body is moving, their hands are also. After looking at both the versions of themselves, the people prefer the one in which they were unconscious of the camera which was recording them. They liked how they came across the cameras without knowing they were being recorded. People approach trainers to make them perfect actors in front of the camera and change their behavior, but your job is to make them realize that they do not need to learn this acting. Instead, they should forget to act and behave normally and naturally to be the best in front of the camera. The most common problem is that people are acting scared in front of the camera. Their voice flattens. Being nervous in front of the camera is natural and obvious. The real lesson to give people is not to act for the camera or stop acting. Make them learn to behave as they would in any daily situation compared to the tense artificial environment of the media presentation.
Demonstrate the best practices
After showing the positive points to your clients, show them what they should improve by demonstrating yourself. Allocate time for this section depending upon the time you have for the interview or presentation. If you have an hour, you can spend 10 minutes, and if you have a whole day, you can spend more time on it. Don’t directly criticize their mistakes; show yourself doing it the wrong way and then correct it to show them the difference between them. For example, first, you lean back, showing your stomach and double chins and then sit straight and stiff, looking nervous. In the end, sit leaning forward about 15 degrees, looking quite normal with a stronger jawline, and everything looking much better. Show them what it looks like. Ask for questions they may have. Take time to look at every aspect of looking the best for seated interviews, standing interviews, and what to do with your feet, hands, makeup, clothing etc.
Use every second of the clock.
It is different if you have half an hour in the back seat of a car on the way to a tv studio versus an 8-hour day or two days. You have to expand and contract the time to prepare using your judgment. Decide how much time you have to spend on advising, training, and rehearsing according to the time available before the actual presentation.
Dedicate time for rehearsal
Urge your clients to rehearse, and there is no reason to have no time for rehearsal. If they say they don’t have the time, they are lying to you and themselves as well. There is always time for important things. Set the rehearsals on your priority list.
A good media trainer is not a person talking about his capabilities and skills. Instead, he should make his clients feel better and confident and well prepared for a media presentation. Tell them the good things they have, boost their confidence, and rehearse to make them relaxed and prepared for the whole situation. Focus on the main ideas and messages rather than spending too much time on the question-answer sessions. Manage the time available to give the best possible advice and tips for the media presentation.