Media Training Isn’t Just For Dealing With the Media

Media Training is a subject that is often viewed as being of use only for that segment of the population that will be interviewed by the media.  However, there is a much broader view that encompasses communications readiness for those challenging and potential crisis situations that can arise in business and interpersonal activities.

Media Training can be used to bring focus to conducting a press conference, seminar, corporate meeting, and even business-related disagreements.

Not all Media Training is about being adversarial, but all Media Training is about having an agenda.

Some General Guidelines for the Trainee:

You have an agenda.  The interviewer/audience/business associate has an agenda.  They are rarely the same one.

Content is king:   Whether you are conducting a meeting, presentation/seminar or in a media situation, it is about the content.  Remember, you have superior knowledge because you are talking about what you know; have accomplished; or the product or message being marketed.

Charm School:

Dress, act, and speak to enhance your message, not diminish or detract.

  • No stripes; no white; no checks; no plaid; no dreaded gap between the bottom of the pant leg and the top of the sock; no bad shoes.
  • No “y’know,” “ummm,” “er,” type of “thinking words.”
  • Finish your words:  add the “ing” to all words (i.e. going – not gonna).
  • Use real words (i.e. “anyways” is NOT a word.  Never has been a word; irregardless is NOT a word).
  • Use real phrases (i.e. one cannot be “in regards.”  Regards are used in a sentence this way, “with regard to…”)

Watch your body language.

How you sit; hold your arms; hands; legs; facial expressions say more than your words (i.e. the presidential debates. In other words, be more like JFK than Nixon).

  • Who’s Looking/Listening/ Reading You?  Find out your audience, whether it’s a speech, meeting or media venue.  Are they female or male?  What age are they? What are their hot buttons?
  • It’s vital that you get the demographics of your audience.  Then, you can tailor your answers to match your listeners/viewers.

Some General Techniques:

Answer every question truthfully, to the best of your knowledge.

If you don’t know the answer, let the interviewer/audience know you will get back with the answer or appropriate person for that topic.

After answering the question, keep going.  Give your message point.  This is done by learning “The Bridge;” and “The Question Turnaround.” The saddest words ever uttered by an interviewee are, “I was all prepared, but…they didn’t ask me the right question.”

Always look at the interviewer, or your audience.  Not the camera.  The camera will find you.

How The Message Points Are Discovered:

 Write out your five (or more) topics you want to talk about.

Write out your five (or more) topics that you don’t want to talk about.

From these lists, come your message points.

 What Happens the Day of Training:

It begins with a discussion of theory.  This encompasses techniques, examples, wardrobe, and body language.

Then, the identification of message points is determined and/or refined.

The “Bridge” and “Question Turnaround” techniques are presented.  These become the “life rafts” that you swim to.


  • Practice, practice, practice is the rest of the session, both on and off camera.


  • Summary of the day’s progress.


  • Leave with a digital video of your best interview session.


And the Final Word:


  • Ask for the audience to buy the book; ask your doctor; call the 800 number; drink more milk, etc.



The saddest words ever heard after interviews are:


“I was all prepared…but they didn’t ask me the question…”