Why Media Training Matters for Even the Most Seasoned Executive
For senior-level professionals tasked with the important role of company spokesperson, your job just got harder. The media landscape is constantly evolving to focus more intensely on digital and sharable content. Print outlets routinely incorporate video on their websites and social media channels. YouTube has competition from Vine and now Instagram, increasing the prominence of mobile video uploads and sharing capabilities.
Digital footage secured through broadcast interviews or even a chance recording from a passive bystander can live online forever. For this reason, media training is an important tool to ensure you present your best self with prepared and practiced messages in order to maintain your approved public image.
You may have mastered the art of board presentations and can already deliver a stirring elevator speech in your sleep, but how you present your message in front of the camera is the true test. When the little red light is flashing, how do you measure up?
At Fineman PR, we regularly conduct media training for both our Brand PR and Crisis PR clients to help strengthen spokesperson performance, rehearse responses to tough questions and prepare for the unexpected. We provide a safe playground for clients to experiment with new messaging and delivery. Through repetition and analysis of on-camera performance, a good spokesperson can become great.
We look for confidence – a trait that matures with practice. How you deliver your message is as important as what you are saying. Below are key takeaways to ensure a memorable, effective presentation before you say a word.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1:
- Food and Drink:
- Drink water before the interview to prevent your mouth from becoming dry. Stay away from carbonated beverages
- Eat! Do not give an interview on an empty stomach. Avoid salty foods; they will make you thirsty.
- Caffeinate, but with caution. Early calls for morning show interviews and green room buffets may tempt you to down more coffee than you usually would. Caffeine-induced jitters can easily be misread as anxiety or discomfort.
- What Not to Wear:
- Viewers should focus on what you have to say, not your appearance (unless of course, your appearance is the message). Avoid jarring patterns, flashy jewelry or loud clothing that will distract from your message. That arm party on your wrist is amazing, but will create too much noise when you shake hands with your interviewer.
- Be careful with the colors you wear. Too much black can be viewed as harsh. White will not appear “crisp” on camera. Wear white only if you are a doctor … or play one on TV.
- Avoid stripes, herringbone, and small intricate designs or patterns. Conservative dress and solids work well, especially pastels. Shelve your seersucker blazer for casual Fridays and keep the leopard print locked up.
- Powder makeup (in the same shade as your skin) will mask oil and sweat. Fun fact: powder and even antiperspirant can be used on a receding forehead to avoid glare. Ladies, do not wear lip-gloss or shiny makeup. Matte is always in fashion for broadcast, regardless of season.
- Make sure your earpiece fits properly before the interview begins. Tuck in your shirt and adjust your collar as needed after any microphone or earpiece adjustments.
Lights, Camera, Action:
- Be confident. You are an authority on your topic. Own the message.
- Project yourself more energetically; normal conversation can appear weak, flat or monotone, making you sound insincere or uninterested.
- Body Language:
- Maintain good eye contact with the reporter/interviewer; do not look at the camera or the monitor. If you need to look away for a moment, look down, never up at the ceiling.
- If appropriate for your message, smile gently while on camera; you will look confident, relaxed and pleasant.
- Let your arms hang; gesture naturally. Do not slouch or make distracting movements, e.g., rubbing your eyes, touching your hair, etc. Don’t cross your arms or put them behind your back or in your pockets. Keep your hands in your lap without clasping them.
- If you are sitting, lean just slightly toward your interviewer; communicate that you are engaged, positive, confident, open and warm. This can also help you appear slender and project a stronger jaw line.
- If sitting, you may cross one leg over the other, but do not rest your ankle on your knee.
- When the interview is over, sit still until the producer or host tells you that you are finished and may remove your microphone. Hold all chit chat until your microphone is removed and you are off the studio floor.