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Every day we see media appearances on TV, in newspapers and on the internet. Politicians, artists and corporate spokespeople; they all give interviews. Sometimes it goes well, but sometimes it also goes completely wrong. In our experience, successful media appearances often use techniques that most likely come from media training. And when things go wrong, it is usually because of a lack of preparation. Reason enough to take media training very seriously!

Media training is sometimes taken rather laconically. Think of spokespersons who think “it will be fine” or who don’t want to come across as a “slick robot”. Busy spokespeople who “will do an interview” via a cracking bluetooth connection while driving. The vice-president of sales who thinks he can impress a journalist with a pure sales pitch. Or spokespeople sharing all kinds of sensitive information “off the record”. These are all mistakes that can be easily avoided through proper media training. And you certainly don’t have to turn into a ‘slick robot’ as a result. You can still come across as very authentic, build good relationships with journalists, and still properly tell your story on behalf of the organisation you represent.

Your reputation is at stake
Is that necessary, such media training? There is only one answer to that: yes! After all, your reputation is at stake. And your company’s reputation. That sounds menacing, but it’s true. One miss will stick to you much longer than a hundred good performances. So it is imperative to perform consistently. In doing so, you don’t have to score a ten every time. That is also impossible when interacting between different people, and it also depends on the interviewer. But if you are well prepared for an interview and for the person you are talking to, you can certainly avoid scoring a failing grade.

Preparation is all the work
What are the most important things you learn during media training? Firstly, that preparation is all the work. Know what you want to say and also what you absolutely do not want to say. In addition, it is important never to speak in front of others. Not for customers or for others in the organisation. Nor about competitors. Never say anything unkind about the competition either. Never lie or say anything ‘off the record’, because during an interview, everything that comes up is useful to a journalist. Prepare an answer to your “nightmare question” so you don’t panic when it is asked. And, especially for written interviews, make sure you get to see the end result before publication. The best way to do that is to ask if you can proofread it for “factual inaccuracies”.

If you apply these tips, you will find that interviews go much better. And the result, a written interview, video or maybe even a live performance, will be much better as a result. This is good for yourself and your organisation, but also for the journalist. Because he also benefits from a good story. With good preparation, the end result will better match everyone’s expectations.

Find someone who can help you!
Media training is above all a process of awareness. What actually happens when two people talk to each other? How do you, as a spokesperson, influence a conversation? How do I get my story and that of my organisation out in the best possible way? How do I come across and how does my story land? But above all: how do I build a good and long-term relationship with the media? It is difficult to evaluate and improve this from the inside. It therefore works best to do this together with someone who looks at you and your organisation with an external perspective. Therefore, find a partner who can do this with you. Practice many different interview situations and experiment with interview techniques so that you can discover your strengths and pitfalls. This way, you will be well prepared as a spokesperson and you will be able to talk to journalists with confidence and energy.