When you ask, what is media training? A traditional reply could be, teaching people how to be interviewed by media reporters in front of the camera. The traditional definition of media training involves a mediator between the speaker and the audience.
However, in broader terms, media training refers to help people appear in front of the camera, whether it be social media, TV interview, or job interview.
BRANCHES OF MEDIA TRAINING
Media training has a lot of sub-branches but media training itself is a branch of presentation training, which in turn, is a branch of communication training.
Media training may have a lot to do with communication skills but it is completely different from it. One can be great at communication skills but pathetic at a media interview, and vice versa.
Media training has a number of branches like TV interviews, Job interviews, Social media training, crisis communication, etc.
TV interview is the largest branch of media training. It is the most important, and media training firms are mostly hired for this purpose. A TV interview may scare people with just its name, and that is exactly why they are nervous to attend one.
Although there are 100s of tips that are shared during a media training session, we are sharing four basic skills that are the points of focus during each media training program.
FOUR SKILLS IN MEDIA TRAINING FOR TV INTERVIEWS
These are the four skills that we work on during a media training session:
HOW TO LOOK COMFORTABLE ON THE CAMERA?
Your body language matters 55% during an interview. This is not easy most of the time. People do not find it natural to talk to a camera. Here we are sharing a basic guide on how to look confident, comfortable, and relax on the camera.
When newbies start facing the camera for the first time, they try to ACT ON THE CAMERA. What we say is, you have to STOP ACTING ON THE CAMERA. This is the only reason you can look natural and relaxed.
Secondly, people think that moving too much will make them look ridiculous. So, they totally freeze their movement. This, in turn, makes them look nervous, scared, and pathetic.
Thirdly, do not place your camera below your eye level. Putting a camera down does not only affect lightning but also shows a bad posture you.
To look confident and focused on the camera, make sure you lean forward by 15 degrees. This may make you look funny to someone who is looking at you from the side. But this makes you look good on the camera and this is all that matters.
Make sure you make solid eye contact. Avoiding eye contact makes you look scared and that you are hiding something.
DO NOT FREEZE YOUR MOVEMENT. Make the natural movement of your head and heads. In essence, you have to do exactly the same things that you do in a 1-on-1 conversation.
HOW TO SHAPE YOUR MESSAGES?
After your body language, it is, of course, your message that matters the most. Do you know what is your agenda? Once you recognize your agenda, it is easier to shape your message.
This is what you must and must not do while forming a message for your next media interview:
A mistake many people make is that they come up with 50 and 100s messages for each question. They feel intellectual about themselves and think they are being heard. The next day when they open up the TV, they are either not quoted at all, or even if they are quoted, it is something irrelevant to their main message. In essence, DO NOT HAVE A LOT OF MESSAGES PER INTERVIEW.
Do not include messages that do not matter to your reporter and your audience. And most importantly, do not add something controversial or negative.
Have a maximum of 3 messages per interview. Your interview should not look like a lecture notebook having a rough draft of the main idea. You must concise your messages into 3 sentences that can be delivered in 30 seconds or less.
Ask yourself, “Does it matter to your audience? Will the reporter be interested in this answer?’ and then shape your answer. Elsewise, your interview will be boring and will have no positive impact.
HOW TO ANSWERS QUESTIONS IN AN INTERVIEW?
When you have created and formulated your answers, never trust your guts. Practice on your own camera before saying those answers to the reporters.
Many people think that media training means lying to the media and avoiding their questions. In fact, this never means lying or dodging the questions. It is a process to learn how to reply to media persons professionally and tactically that does not create controversies.
Make eye contact with the camera or the reporter. When you don’t, it makes you look as if you are hiding something.
Secondly, do not dodge a negative question, but find positivity out of it. Do not repeat any negative points. For example, when you are asked, “These facts say that you are a crook.” Now, do not repeat “No! I am not a crook.” This will do nothing but give a worse impression of you on the camera.
Lastly, do not make a guess when you do not know something. Remember that most people get in trouble for SAYING something, and hardly for NOT saying something.
Always make sure that you answer the reporter from his perspective while defending yourself too. Sometimes when the reporter asks you 3-4 questions. Now, you are not a professor who would say, “Alright! Let’s start with your first question!”. Pick the one that is the easiest to answer and reply to it.
In this way, you are neither dodging his question nor allowing him to provoke you to speak a negative sentence.
When you do not know something, do not hesitate to say, “I don’t know.” Moreover, have a positive response to every TOUGH QUESTION that is asked of you. For example, I am often asked, “TJ, don’t you feel guilty for teaching people how to lie on the media?” Apparently, this is a tough question.
But I perceive it as the reporter has asked me “TJ, how do you feel about your profession?” Now, this is the easiest question to answer! I reply with, “I feel great about being a media trainer.” Smart, right?
HOW TO PACKAGE INTERESTING SOUNDBITES?
Before we dive deeper, let’s discuss WHAT IS A SOUNDBITE? Soundbite is a short quotable extract from an audio, video, or speech. These are mostly the interesting parts of an interview that help the viewer draw a conclusion of the interview.
It is important to learn how to package a soundbite. A soundbite must have 2 important features:
- It should be interesting.
- It must be related to our message.
Let’s learn what you must do in order to package a GOOD SOUNDBITE.
Rule number 1 is, do not make a negative soundbite. When you repeat a negative sentence or attack someone, this definitely turns into a soundbite. This does nothing but creates a bad impression of you across the camera.
Secondly, do not make a soundbite that does not promote your cause. Because most of the people would only hear your soundbite and if it doesn’t deliver the message, you should consider your interview a failure.
Create a soundbite that is based on positive points and endorses your cause. Remember, when you do not practice your soundbite, you are quoted out of the context.
And when you are quoted out of the context, whether it be beneficial for you, YOU FAILED YOUR INTERVIEW.
Another important thing is NOT TO ATTACK ANYONE. This will not only create controversies but also shows you an unethical presenter.
MEDIA TRAINING FOR JOB INTERVIEWS
Not all job interviews need media training, but every media interview requires communication. However, video-based job interviews require a lot of media training. This includes live job interviews on zoom or skype and pre-recorded job interviews.
In both of them, it is important to follow most of the rules that are stated above for TV interviews. In pre-recorded interviews, you have a chance to retake every time you mess up. Check out our detailed article on ‘How to ace your pre-recorded interview.’
SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING
Social media training is a complete branch of media training. This is mostly recommended for influencers, politicians, executives, and public figures.
Social media training includes how you should address your online audience. It suggests which platform you should use for which purpose, and how to use each. For example, if you are using YouTube, you will have to edit your videos to make them more competitive.
Most of the people we come across are too nervous to even start making videos for social media. The sad news is that the competition has grown a lot that if you are hiding from the camera, you are not even trying to win the race.
When we talk about facing the camera, everyone comes up with their insecurities, everyone thinks that he is special and different. Though everyone is special, I believe that every human is the same.
You actually have to overcome the thoughts of insecurities and start with appearing on the camera. If you fail to create the BEST video, delete it, and record it again. Keep practising until you finally create the video you love!
Furthermore, social media training does not only deal with creating videos. You will also be trained on how to tweet, and how frequently you should post. In essence, social media training is an extensive package of how to handle your social media accounts.
Crisis communication is an important branch of media training. It refers to the art of dealing with the media persons in the situation of a crisis. It might not be the same as dealing with the media in a favourable situation because, during a crisis, you won’t be asked easy questions.
In fact, you will be bombarded with dozens of tough questions. You do not only have to tackle them but you also have to maintain your professional composure. The PRO tip is, DO NOT UTTER A WORD THAT CREATES CONTROVERSIES OR FURTHER QUESTIONS. STAY POSITIVE, HUMBLE, AND TRANSPARENT.
Find out our detailed article on crisis communication.
WHY MEDIA TRAINING IS IMPORTANT
Media training is important because it is the future of communication. And you know, in order to be successful in life, the first pre-requisite is to communicate well.
In elementary school, you were taught to write nicely. But unfortunately, having bad writing may not affect you severely. But having bad communication skill will have a direct impact on your personal and business life.
That is why media training is important. Just like in a pandemic when the only means of communication between the employees was video call, the importance of media training can’t be denied. This is the only solution to help you deliver your message effectively across the media.
HIRE THE BEST MEDIA TRAINING FIRM
If you think media training matters to you, then you must take a step forward and hire a media training firm.
A good media training firm will look into your needs and formulate a plan that works out for you. Be it a media training workshop or a 1-on-1 consultancy, they will help you to get the best value for every single penny and every minute you spend on it.
If you are looking for a media training firm that has been working with high-profile clients for the past 30 years, you have landed at the right website! Media training worldwide would love to play its part to help you ace your next media interview.
Contact us with your briefs and get started today!