Yesterday we completed a two-day media training session for an “institution of higher learning” in Maryland, and judging from the reactions of the participants, the time was well worth it, even for those who likely will not go before a camera. It opened their eyes to what goes on behind the scenes to help the media assemble a story – and get an organization’s messages delivered accurately and concisely. If you are considering a media training for your college or university, here are some thoughts to consider:
- We had great success integrating the college’s crisis communications plan with the media training. During mock interviews, participants rehearsed answers to potential questions about the H1N1 virus/swine flu, a fire in a campus building, an accusation against an accounting department employee and the crash of a van carrying a sports team. We’re all hoping nothing ever happens, but this college is prepared!
- We worked closely with the PR Department to create a customized program that met their unique needs. They shared with us that other media training firms they interviewed tried to sell them pre-packaged workshops that focused more on what to wear and other “style” pointers vs. a content-focused approach, which of course is more useful.
- The college president wisely asked that a range of personnel be exposed to the session. Not only were deans and others in leadership roles present, but so were staff members from a cross-section of departments, from security to the athletic department to purchasing.
- Each participant was offered the chance to go before the cameras twice. It was time-consuming, but one time is simply not enough. They viewed a tape of their initial appearance, received our constructive on-the-spot criticism and then tried again. Why not allow newbie mistakes to be made in the privacy of your conference room?
- Videotaping participants is more important than ever since many newspaper reporters are carrying video cameras with them these days.
- You should plan for a “refresher” session in about six months. This college has already planned a follow up, which will keep potential spokespeople comfortable and ready.
Ready for your session? Give us a call.