Working as part of the Fuzion Media Training team is one of the most rewarding, diverse and challenging parts of the job.
It’s even more interesting from the perspective of being a former journalist as I hadn’t much considered just how difficult and nerve wrecking it is to deal with the unpredictability of media from the interviewee’s perspective!
People from all walks of life seek Fuzion’s expertise in this area for many different reasons – be it an upcoming TV appearance on Dragon’s Den, business leaders wanting to work on their elevator pitch for investors, upcoming radio interviews or as part of an organisation’s crisis management strategy.
Regardless of why they require support, one thing is common to all of our Media Training clients, they entrust in us. This is incredibly humbling and comes with a weight of responsibility on our side that we never underestimate.
Our clients lay their cards on the table for us, warts and all, and we’re tasked to honestly analyse and strategically advise on their strengths, weaknesses and the best approach for them to communicate as individuals and/or as an organisation.
Often it’s a tricky position to be in when you have to take the ‘no holds barred’ approach but almost always, the honesty is appreciated by our clients who know that the goal is to lay the groundwork for effective communication.
Demonstrating the unpredictability of a media interview and the importance of staying ‘on message’ is one of the most intense parts of the training.
I temporarily jump back into the role of a journalist to interrogate, nit-pick and manipulate with my own agenda to give the client an idea of worse-case scenario media interviews. This is where the cracks will be apparent in their verbal and visual communication. It’s tough love!
It’s not easy but it’s necessary to sometimes tell clients that they mumble, sound monotone, are too defensive both in their words and their body language, have a nervous tick and/or if the interview had been live, they could have left their organisation open to controversy. appearing in a very poor light or even a possible lawsuit.
No one takes offence, more often, they’re glad of the honesty of how they sound and appear, looking from the outside in.
From there we work with our clients so that they can effectively, calmly and confidently communicate using their core business strategy to set the agenda and achieve clear communication objectives in all media interviews and opportunities. We work with them to establish their core messages to stay on track (e.g. who they are, what they stand for, why people should care or be interested in them, the positive work do they do, how they are pro-actively working to resolve issues etc.)
Once the client establishes these core messages clearly and concisely, they’re on a sound footing. The tables soon turn to when the client is able to set their own agenda and manage the media opportunity to benefit their goals and business.
With some training every media opportunity can be a golden one.