No good excuse for not media training

HowardDean-scream-revIn January, 2004, Howard Dean was the frontrunner in 2004 Democratic Presidential primary. A month later, Dean folded his tent and withdrew from the race. Think media training isn’t worth it?

Think again. Ask Howard Dean if he thinks media training is worth it, he’d say Yeeeah!

Dean’s answer will be forever known as the: “Dean Scream.” Also called his “I Have a Scream” speech, it was replayed over and over on television; someone actually counted and the video clip was played 633 times over four days. A short while later, it became an official Internet meme. When asked about it, Dean admitted that he “needed some serious media training.” And, he “could have saved myself a lot of hassle later if I’d done it earlier.”

When someone makes a verbal blunder on camera or says something that comes across as insensitive or conceited, we shake our head and say “that could never happen to me.”

We’ve all seen countless video clips of a celebrity or company exec saying something spiteful or incredibly stupid. No surprise there. We’re now at the point where such things have become so predictiable and ordinary that “Top 10 PR Blunders” articles are an expected part of the regular, year-in-review postings to the big Internet news sites.

So why do people keep making these mistakes, knowing that the media – news, social and otherwise – will keep gobbling them up like Easter candy? What’s the excuse?

  • “Nope. Just don’t need it.” Doing a media interview is not the same as delivering a slide presentation. Anytime you are interviewed by a reporter, you must choose your words carefully. Media training can help.
  • “I’m too busy.” Really? Media training can give you the tools to avoid saying something you’ll regret, and pay for, later. Think of it as insurance against foot-in-mouth disease. How much of your time is that worth?
  • “Not in the budget this year.” Dollar for dollar, media training is a bargain. The time and money invested in building your brand could be wiped out overnight by a bad media interview. Or, what was a minor incident quickly becomes a major news story simply because you came across as greedy or indifferent.

A company’s emergency response plan includes a section on communicating with stakeholders and the public. Media training will help get it right.

I’ve trained company people on the right way to do a media interview for 20 years. Give me a call today to set up a class for your team.