The media training market is a crowded one, and with every supplier making extravagant claims about their services, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. So how do you decide which media trainer to choose?
These nine questions should help you identify the right media trainer for your needs.
1. Are their courses bespoke?
All media trainers have standard courses on offer – but how willing are they to deviate from that? If you need a session on social media, or phone-ins, or to rehearse press conferences, or some presentation advice, is the company happy to provide that? Will they create a course which is designed to meet your specific needs.
2. What types of mock interview exercises will they conduct?
Every organisation and business is different, and the types of interview they will encounter are also different. Some will only ever feature in the trade of specialist press, others are continually responding to requests from Radio Five Live, others want to prepare their spokespeople for down-the-line interviews. Can the media trainers offer you a training schedule that includes all or any of those?
3. What is the maximum number of trainees they recommend per session?
The best way for spokespeople to improve their interview skills is to have as much practical experience as possible. The larger the number of trainees the fewer mock interviews the trainees will be able to do each. We recommend a maximum number of trainees for a half day and full day session – although there are always ways to train larger numbers if necessary.
4. How realistic will the mock interviews be?
Does the media trainer conduct research into your industry, and tailor the ‘scenarios’ for each mock interview to the types of questions your spokespeople will be asked in real life.
Infographic: How we prepare for media training
5. What experience does the training team have?
It is most important point to find media trainers with experience that meets your needs. If the spokespeople being trained might appear on programmes like Newsnight or Today on Radio Four, media trainers with a background primarily in print media or local news will not have the level of experience necessary to provide them with a thorough and realistic training session. In addition, if your spokespeople are likely to appear in documentaries or more in depth programmes, can the company provide trainers with knowledge and experience in those fields?
6. Are the training team still working in the industry?
The media landscape develops extremely fast – and it’s very easy for journalists to get left behind. Aim to find a training team that is still working within the media to guarantee your spokespeople will be given the most up to date information possible.
7. What follow up do they offer?
Will the media trainer provide written feedback of each person’s performance, will the trainees get a copy of their interviews on DVD and training notes and will the company recommend who and when to field particular spokespeople?
8. How responsive are they?
If your spokesperson is facing an interview on Newsnight on Monday night, can you reach them for some last minute coaching beforehand?
9. What do their clients say?
Do they have testimonials? Can you speak to their clients? Do they get repeat business? You should ask these questions of every supplier of a service – media training is no different.