Since 2008, I have conducted a lot of Phoenix media training and have traveled throughout Arizona and beyond. Along the way I have trained three Arizona gubernatorial candidates and a host of other high profile elected officials. I’ve trained federal, state, and local government groups too. I’ve trained star football and basketball players, CEO’s, spokespersons, medical professionals and lawyer groups. Many of these people will get plenty of air time and the media and messaging coaching is a necessary part of their career growth. But some will never be in front of a camera. So why go through the training at all? Frankly, I didn’t really understand the side benefits to media training until I started receiving feedback from my clients.
Here’s what I’ve learned from them over the past seven years:
Media training improves overall communication skills, not just for media: Just about every client I have worked with has told me that my mock interviews, that is, being recorded in front of a camera and then playing back the footage, was the single most beneficial communication exercise they have been part of. While at times “painful”, there is nothing like watching yourself to determine what you do well and what you need to work on.
Condensing messages for media works well for business too: My workshops include a section on my seven second soundbite rule for today’s digital news media. I force my trainees to condense their messages for media consumption, so that most of their messages can stand on their own and be consumed by the media. Most people have a natural tendency to ramble, to “bury the lead”, and to use run-on sentences. Training to condense your messages not only works for media, but it also makes you more effective when delivering presentations, sales pitches, and staff meetings.
Media training improves your look and sound: Part of my training also includes how to dress for TV, and how to speak with energy and animation. We break down your pacing and voice tone too. All of us have been subject to the monotone speaker at one point or another. No one pays much attention to that guy on TV and no one is awake during a meeting featuring that guy. Media training improves your look and sound, and that translates to just about everything you do.
Media training prepares you for how to deal with the public: This became clear during one of our media training workshops with the federal government. Some of the trainees were on-camera spokespersons, but many were not. But all of them have to deal with and manage frustrated and angry members of the public. I learned after our training that our tactics on how to answer difficult questions from the media were being put in play at public meetings by non-spokesperson staff.
Great feedback and I’m still learning all of the upsides.