This article was originally published on The CEO Magazine.
Media training can be invaluable – even if you don’t talk to journalists.
Communicating under pressure is the name of the game when it comes to media training, however the skills you learn can help you perform better in a range of other situations where you don’t want to make a fool of yourself in public.
Think challenging meetings, important pitches, presentations to investors or venture capitalists… fundraising road shows, and even your next job interview.
Preparation is the first step towards a polished performance.
Think about who your audience is then take some time to consider what key messages you’d like to deliver and how to explain them in a simple, easy-to-relate-to way. Practise these, and try to minimise or eliminate any ums, ahs and other vocal ticks.
A good performance also requires you to speak simply and straightforwardly, without jargon, to stay calm if questioning is intense and to be energetic and enthusiastic if it is more relaxed.
Media training also provides you with practise in using ‘bridging phrases’ that help you regain control and get your key messages across if a line of questioning takes you away from your preferred area. Examples include:
- “The point I’m trying to make is…”
- “What we see as a more important issue…”
- “The real question is…”
- “Let me put that another way…”
It’s worth noting that bridging should not provide a ‘get out of jail free’ card in terms of answering the question – as our infuriation with politicians show – just a way to move from answering the question to what you’d like to say.
Bridging should also not be used for its own sake. If you can provide a direct, positive and simple answer to the question, then do so!
Another approach is to mentally reframe the question, from one that’s a negative to you to a positive. For example, if asked why your product is so expensive, you could talk about the value it provides and any subsidies available to students, the elderly etc.
As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words – it’s always worth considering the picture you present.
In terms of dress, a blue shirt communicates trustworthiness and honesty, while a white shirt and dark suit communicates authority.
You can also become more aware of your body language and tone of voice, when confronted in media training with a video of yourself “in action”.
Finally, in media training, we always encourage people to consider the background against which they’re speaking, both the physical background and the situation more generally.
You don’t want to be pitching your business’s growth and success, while giving an investor a tour of a near-empty office… and, as the Federal Government discovered last year, it’s not a good look to spend up on flying staff to meet in Paris to discuss ways to save money.
If you’re interested in group or one-on-one media training in Melbourne, contact Pesel & Carr!