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What Can Media Training Do For Me --- On A Scale of 1-10?

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

By Bashon Mann

One of my new COVID19 guilty pleasures is following the Twitter handle @ratemyskyperoom. I find myself instantly drawn to the perspective they offer as well as the grading scale of 1 thru 10 for the background of each individual under the microscope...err, web camera.

Much of this fascination stems from being on the instructor/facilitator side of media-training for more than the past decade. There is a specific science and construction to not only preparing yourself for the camera, but also ensuring the environment in which you are being interviewed is suitable for your audience to get the most from your message.

If you pay close attention to whomever is behind this Twitter page, they are routinely offering some very relevant advice on how to look at your space and frame the view to promote authenticity, invitation, and even scale. While this serves as a piece of the media training formula, we have to remember the importance of other critical variables which - if rehearsed correctly - can bring your interviews over the top and even give you an advantage toward seeing a potential pitfall. For trained communicators who are in the business of setting up on-camera interviews, some of the things we look for right away are location. Where IS the interview taking place? Are we in a studio, outdoors, or will it be remote? Due to the COVID pandemic, remote interviews are becoming the soup du jour. This new communication environment is forcing media trainers like Provision Advisors to revamp and restructure some of our curriculum to address the elements involved with this increase in virtual communication. Primarily, the principles of interaction and speaking on camera will remain the same. Your goal is to deliver your talking points and key messages in much the same manner as if you were in a studio or perhaps taking part in a stand-up interview directly in front of the reporter. One noticeable difference over the past several months is the rate at which we have become so comfortable with our home environs serving as a backdrop for giving these interviews, several noteworthy commentators have allowed their ability to communicate with intent to fall out of focus. I call this Zoom haze. Zoom haze is the point where we’ve become so inundated with this new form of communication, we are no longer interested or drawn in to how we are coming across on camera. While a family birthday Zoom call can afford such luxury, an interview on a major news network is going to call for a bit more discipline from the principal delivering the message on behalf of your organization.

And this point will always remain top of mind for media trainers out there, whether we are facing a global pandemic or not; your endgame is the effective delivery of your message. While children dancing and dogs a-leaping may be a sign of the status quo, there are still a few tricks of the trade which reign supreme in the on-camera interview game: 1. Reps and sets (the more you rehearse, the better you’ll be)

2. Ensure a comfortable interview environment, free of distraction

3. Keep a hold of those mental 3x5 cards (memorize your TPs/messages)

4. Presentation is everything! Look the part, talk the part 5. Work with a professional team

Each time we sit down with a client for media training we walk them through several reality-based scenarios where they can mimic the environment in which they will face a reporter’s questions. This is where you address your first task of ‘reps & sets’ to establish a muscle memory for how you’re going to react under the lights of the studio and a reporter’s demeanor during the interview. Given your issue, we want to prepare you for those hard to answer questions and offer the correct ‘bridging’ techniques for you to ensure your message is delivered throughout the interview.

As we continue with our blog series on media training and the new virtual approach within our media landscape, ProVision will offer a look at our own at-home grading system for professional communicators and subject matter experts to examine for future use.

In the meantime, I’ll be patiently waiting for my guilty pleasure to deliver its ratings on outdoor garden motifs, should some brave soul have the courage to give it a go.

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