3 media training mistakes to avoid

Brand spokesmen and spokeswomen often get tangled up in superfluous details, in the process forgetting to answer reporters’ questions or explain the reasons behind a policy.

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Media training is invaluable to any spokesperson, on any issue, in any setting. That is, as long as it’s done right.

Done incorrectly, it can damage the ability of your representative to communicate effectively and could harm the organization.

Here are three common mistakes:

Mistake 1: Too many messages.

This is confusing for the inexperienced trainee and, ultimately, the reporter. For the interviewee, when asked a question, he or she must decide which points to make or which direction to go with the answer. For the reporter, the story often gets muddled as the interviewee goes back and forth between the various messages.

Solution: Prepare one message—your “home base.”

This makes it so much easier for a spokesperson to have a specific direction for an interview. For example, imagine that a United Way spokesperson has been prepared with three messages:

It’d be better to prepare the spokesperson with one, simple “home base” message: “The United Way helps people.” Those other three messages can now be used in any way to support that main message.

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