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By Jennigay Coetzer

Media interviewInteracting with the media should create a pull through for business and if it doesn’t then investing in public relations is a waste of money.

 

 

But exposing spokespeople to media interviews without proper training can damage a company’s reputation and credibility.

The right form of media training will equip spokespeople to anticipate any eventuality in any media interview scenario, prepare accordingly, organise their thoughts, interact clearly and concisely in a two-way discussion with a media interviewer, get to the point, and make strong statements.

In addition, they will learn to develop tactics to handle awkward or sensitive questions that could arise during media interviews and how to avoid their comments being quoted out of context.

Spokespeople will also learn how to develop a broader, more visionary perspective of the trends and issues relating to the topics they are discussing in media interviews, from the audience’s perspective as well as their own.

This will enable them to be seen as thought leaders in the markets in which they operate instead of just talking about their company and its products and services.

Only an experienced journalist can provide spokespeople with expert training and give them insight into what media interviewers look for in a good spokesperson.

Natural spokespeople do exist, but they are few and far between. These spokespeople are usually the first to jump at the chance of honing their media interaction skills.

At the other end of the scale are those who consider themselves to be great spokespeople already and believe there is no room for improvement.

Meanwhile these individuals are often the worst spokespeople to interview, due to their inflated egos, arrogant, know-it-all attitude, superficial knowledge, and a tendency to punt product and speak at the journalist instead of engaging in a two-way conversation.

Jennigay CoezerJennigay Coetzer is a freelance business and technology journalist with 25 years experience, and she writes regularly for Business Day. Connect with Jennigay at jennigay@icon.co.za for more information about her upcoming media training workshops and one-on-one sessions.  An ebook version of Jennigay’s book A Perfect Press Release – or Not?, a guide to writing and distributing effective press releases, can be downloaded free from her website: www.jennigay.co.za.

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