Why media training matters for business owners

- June 12, 2023 3 MIN READ


Not every business seeks media coverage but it can happen to almost anyone. In some cases, it can be for great reasons. A new product might unexpectedly have a massive market impact. Or a celebrity may use your service and promote it on social media, putting you in the spotlight. But are you ready for the opportunity? ask Kathryn Van Kuyk and Anthony Caruana, co-CEOs at Media-Wize.

Other times, you may find a journalist calling you or knocking on your door for less pleasant reasons. Whatever the case, you may only have a minute or two to articulate your message. If you use that time wisely, you can create new opportunities for your business or mitigate the damage from a disaster.

When watching professional sports, there are some athletes that seem to have more time to execute their skills than other players. They make better decisions and their skill level seems to be higher than most of the other players.

Some of that is natural ability. But most of it comes from thinking through and practicing what to do in many different scenarios. So, when something happens on the field or court they don’t need to exert mental effort to decide what to do. Because they’ve already played out that scenario or others just like it, they can make a rapid, almost reflexive, decision.

Cognitive load

Imagine being on a sporting field for the first time, playing a game you’ve never played, using equipment you’ve never seen. You’re surrounded by ten team mates and eleven opposition players for the first time. You have the ball and need to identify which player you should send the ball to.

When we are placed in an unfamiliar situation, our brains work extra hard. The cognitive load – the amount of thinking we need to do to negotiate the situation – is very high.

When you see an elite player in the same situation, they make it all look easy. Because they have practised thousands of different scenarios and honed their physical skills, they don’t have to expend brain power on relatively easy things such as how to use their equipment or choose the right team mate to share the ball with.

Media training reduces the cognitive load so that when you’re faced with a journalist, you don’t spend brain power on relatively straightforward questions.

The advantages of media training

As media trainers, we start with asking people what they do. We’ve stopped being surprised at how many people can’t answer that simple question in a succinct and clear way. This makes it clear to us that the interviewee hasn’t thought about even the most basic questions they’re likely to be asked.

For time-poor journalists, vague and rambling answers can be frustrating and it’s a lost opportunity for the interview subject. Instead of being ready to take advantage of a situation that can help their cause or business, they find their comments on the cutting room floor.

Media training is about being ready to maximise every media opportunity, whether that’s print, online, TV or radio. Different media and audiences require different emphasis, stories and message, and should be practised in a safe environment.

The founders of startups and leaders of fast-growth companies must be able to present cogent responses to questions; this is crucial to business success. Effective media training gives you the tools to confidently answer questions.

The mantra is practice, practice, practice and then prepare some more. Media relations experts can provide you with talking points and likely interview questions on any scenario, so you are ready when the pressure is on.

Media training matters. You may only get 30 seconds to make your case to a journalist. If you’re left staring like a deer in the headlights when asked the simplest question, you may not get another chance to promote your business or make your case during a difficult time.

Want more? Get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! Follow Kochie’s Business Builders on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Now read this:

Nothing is ‘off the record’ in a media interview