- Posted by Poston Communications
- On July 28, 2021
- communications, media training, public relations
They say that the most successful Fortune 500 CEOs are constantly media training. They conduct regular, in-depth simulations on a quarterly basis, receive coaching before specific interviews and routinely debrief with their communications professionals.
Company leaders, attorneys and other executives should be no exception.
But we get it you’re busy, and for most people, having a root canal is more favorable than being peppered with questions that call into question your leadership. As one CEO told us in his recent media training, “I hate having to practice, but I know it’s necessary” when it comes to preparing for tough interviews.
There are four ways to make media training effective – and dare we say, even a little fun?
Focus on the goal.
Time is limited for top executives, so use it wisely. The communications team should decide in advance on specific areas about which they are most concerned. If the company just got sued over a product failure, spend time on that instead of debating the best way to discuss the company’s new office space.
Your reputation will be completely intact even if you bungle every answer during your mock interview. This practice is a safe place to try out answers to hear what works – and what doesn’t. This is a useful training ground for your key messages, too. Your PR team will make recommendations in real time, helping you to establish new messaging and test strategies as you go.
Bring it full circle.
End the session with an understanding of how the answers to tough questions will be communicated, so the executive walks out confident they can handle the real thing. And make sure to address follows up immediately: If your media training revealed a new opportunity or potential risk, tackle it right away and ahead of the CEO’s next interview.
Embrace the tension.
It’s a good sign if the meeting is uncomfortable,” one corporate communications executive told us. “If everyone has a good time, you may have missed an opportunity.”
With that said, use media training as an opportunity to try new bridging points and to challenge yourself to stay calm under pressure. Instead of answering the questions like you’re in a deposition, relax and focus on your message points. After all, fine-tuning those is the ultimate best outcome of media training.
At the end of the day, media training is like practicing your putting. If you practice from 30 feet, chances are, you can sink a 10-foot putt any day.