Key skills for speaking on behalf of your organisation
It should go without saying that an organization should get its spokespeople media trained, according to Robert Taylor in his book Media Interview Techniques: A Complete Guide to Media Training. Journalists conduct interviews day in day out, so if your spokespeople have never had any training or practice they’ll immediately be at a big disadvantage, just as someone who has never learned to cook will probably make a hash of preparing a meal for a dinner party.
The book goes on to provide advice on a number of issues relating to media interviews, including:
- How to prepare for an interview
- How to construct a message which resonates with your audience
- How to overcome nervousness, avoid anger, and stay calm during the interview
- How to use body language and adopt an appropriate tone of voice
- Ways of remaining in control of the interview
- Techniques for handling hostile and sceptical audiences
- How to deal with a crisis media interview
Organisations which fail to make positive use of the media increasingly find themselves either treated in a hostile manner or ignored altogether. Silence is frequently interpreted as meaning that the organisation has something to hide. It is therefore increasingly important for organisations of all types and sizes that they have people prepared to speak up on their behalf when an occasion arises.
It seems to me that the author’s advice on the subject is as good as any that you are likely to get. The book gives you all the information you need to know; nevertheless, information alone is not sufficient to give you the skills which come only through extensive practice.