Some of the basics of public relation never go out of fashion. Spokespeople or executives in an organization need to speak strategically, knowledgeably, and succinctly. The key message must resonate with the target audience. With such demands, a skilful media coaching is essential.
It helps people make the most of the interview opportunities. Such training could last for an hour or could be a multi-day workshop with exhaustive mock interviews. Programs usually address what you must say and how to present it. This way the company representatives are under control as well.
If you are a spokesperson, representing a company or are a PR professional who frequently interacts with the media, then media or public speaking coaching is a must. They teach the following lessons –
• Spokesperson preparation: Make sure you have a broad understanding of media relations and what piece of information is newsworthy. Consider factors like who the spokesperson will be up against and what are the expectations of the interview. They clarify the purpose of the interview, know the reporter’s deadline, and gain a more in-depth understanding of the audience’s interests. It is also imperative to know what questions people will ask and what the news outlet has earlier reported about the concerned topic, organization, or the spokesperson. Your goal is to position the company the right way and accomplish the balancing act.
• Key messages: Develop your ideas surrounding three pieces of essential information such as –
1) Describing the company situation, products and services
2) Differentiate them by showcasing leadership position
3) Address what the audience can gain from the same
Make sure your message has credibility by using aspects such as facts, figures, statistics, quotes from third-party, stories revealing trends, visuals that add graphics, and so on.
• Engagement rules: One of the major learnings from media coaching is avoiding the know it all attitude. Before the spokesperson calls or meets the reporter, you should understand that you should not quote unnecessary statements, do not answer questions that you are unaware of, and add ‘no comment’ for the ones you have no clue about. Some other tips to remember are –
1) Do not use professional jargons
2) Avoid speaking about competition
3) Do not provide information such as timing, value, costs, and so on which the company may not be able to achieve later.
• Delivery techniques: One of the goals of the spokesperson or the PR person is to introduce and reinforce their key message. Understand that repetition means retention. You cannot expect the reporter to recall critical points by talking about them only once. Hence, it is helpful to explain some messages in two to three ways. This gives the spokesperson the liberty to use different message delivering techniques. Public speaking coaching teaches the same.
• Personal presence: The spokesperson or PR manager’s personality should not overshadow the essence of the key message. Still, appearance, gestures, facial expressions, and the tonality could either enhance or detract what the person wants to express. To break the bridge between expression and impression, spokespeople should put in efforts to engage the reporters. If it is a face-to-face interview, use eye contact, lean forward slightly, natural hand gestures, and body language. You could vary your voice levels, be it in-person interviews or via a call.