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What is media training?


Media training gives you the skills to deal with media interviews. Whether you’re a CEO having to defend a company position or a beginner who wants to launch a product and speak to journalists, this course teaches you how to speak to the media.


What makes us good at this?


Erbut has trained more than 1000 companies and 200 CEOs around the world in how to speak to top-level and trade media. We train listed, Fortune and FTSE companies such as Google, LinkedIn, BT and Sage. Our trainers are all ex-journalists who have worked for the FT, the Economist Group, the BBC, Sky News and ITN.


Why do I need to speak to the media?


If your remit is to promote your company or defend its position through PR, there’s a good chance you’ll end up speaking to a journalist or influential writer.


Why do I need to be trained to speak to the media?


Some people are naturally good at telling stories and make their point very well. Some people are good at expressing themselves, but when they talk to a journalist, they find the situation changes the way they speak and express themselves.


This is risky for a company and you as a spokesperson because:


  • You might say something you didn’t mean to say

  • You might talk about something way off your own agenda

  • You might give the journalist inaccurate information

  • You might alter the share price of a company with your words

  • You might give away confidential information that you didn’t intend for the public


This course trains your brain to think before speaking so you make strong, well-evidenced points that are noticeably quotable.


What kind of people take media training courses?


All kinds of people take media training, but they are generally people who:


  • Have to do media work who are not confident enough.

  • Are at risk of shooting their mouths off.

  • Want to speak to the media, but can’t frame their thoughts well.

  • Have spoken to the media before, but have had a bad experience.


Who takes Erbut media training courses?


Generally business people. These are either CXO, board-level, investors or senior executives and senior management.


The industries vary, but we work a lot with:


  • Financial services

  • Technology

  • Energy

  • Government

  • Manufacturing

  • Food and drink

  • Start ups


What do you learn on an Erbut Media Training course?


You will learn three things:


1 - Who journalists are and what they want (how to think like a journalist)

2 - How to prepare and how to build solid messaging

3 - How to get quoted in an interview, how to hold an argument and how to defend yourself


What is the format?


We run three formats:


1 - One-to-one

2 - One-to-many (same organisation)

3 - One-to-many (open session for people from different organisations and background)


How long does it take?


It depends. For someone senior who has already done a lot of media and needs a refresher, about 30 minutes.


For someone who has never done anything before, about two hours or so.


How do one-to-one sessions work?


First off, we film an interview with you, based on your requirements. Then we go through that interview and look at the finest detail at your:


  • Body language

  • Use of voice

  • Timing and pace

  • Message delivery

  • Control of the interview


This way, we hit on everything very quickly.


How do one-to-many sessions work?


These sessions involve everyone working together in a workshop environment. Typically, there will be no more than six people in a classroom.


We start off with a round of interviews (either to camera or face-to-face) and give feedback to each person. These interviews are based on scenarios relevant to you and your work.


This assessment helps us (and everyone else in the room) where you are strong and where you require support.


This is important because it helps us to establish where any problems may lie and we can address them together.


We then look at some “do”s and “don’t”s, some rules of engagement and some techniques to help with:

  • Body language

  • Use of voice

  • Timing and pace

  • Message delivery

  • Control of the interview


We then move into a second interview and if time permits a third as well - with feedback after each one.


You should see your progress improve in each session. We will make each interview tougher to ensure you have to work harder in each scenario.


Why do these things matter?


Body language - 60% of people perception is body language. The rest is how you use your voice and finally - what you say. If your body language is awkward, people pick up on it very quickly.


Use of voice - if your voice weakens when you’re being questioned, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. A strong, clear voice that you can follow gives an audience what they need to digest what you’re saying. In other words - body language and voice get you past first base in communicating to people.


Timing - if someone speaks too quickly or without pausing, it can be hard to follow them. You need to speak slowly (not too slowly) and clearly. Chances are, you probably think that ‘slow’ is what most people think ‘normal’ is. It’s also important to emphasize certain words. Using timing as a tool is good for this.


Message delivery - of course, this is why you’re here. Getting your point across is the whole aim of the game. It’s important to deliver a message that is consistent with what you’re saying. It doesn’t have to be nor should be obvious. But if you don’t know what message to deliver, you have to ask yourself why you’re doing the interview in the first place.


Control of interview - we’ve all seen when politicians have come under fire from journalists. If you ever find yourself having to defend your position (and it happens more frequently than you’d think), you need to know how to use your messages, proof points and answering techniques. These are important because without knowing the rules of engagement, you could find yourself in a whole world of trouble.


How long is a course?


It depends. It depends on the amount of work required to get someone to where they need to be.


If it’s a crisis media training course, it could take a day or two - more sometimes. If it’s for someone who just needs to brush up, it could be 30-45 minutes. If it’s for a beginner or intermediate class of three or four people - around four hours is enough. And if it’s for six people, it will probably take a day.

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