4 Ways To Get Ready for the Media Hot Seat

Communicators don’t always get a chance to prepare for the media spotlight. Sometimes a crisis strikes, your organization starts trending for the wrong reason, and your usual spokesperson calls in sick.


As media relations can be inherently risky, whenever you can, it is helpful to get a few reps in before you agree to that big live TV interview. When you can plan ahead, here are four actions you might want to try to lessen the possibility that you will become a meme.


The Dirty 30

This is a good exercise not only for media relations, but before you launch anything into the world. The Dirty 30 are the thirty most pressing questions you expect to be asked.  As a team, determine what these questions might be (the harder, the meaner, the better) and draft some response that always go back to your key messages. Always better to be over-prepared for questions like these.


Setting the Plate

This format can be used solo or with a group. This is an exercise designed to surface common message elements from different people or sides of an issue; great when many people need to come to a quick common message. Use each outer segment for gathering your ideas (each person uses one of the sections, or each exterior section represents a key audience). Bring into the centre “plate” area only the most commonly appearing ideas/ messages or thoughts from the exterior sections.


Countdown (A.K.A. 60, 30, 20, 10)

Sometimes we ramble. That’s not the best for soundbites. Grab a stopwatch or timer. Start by working on framing the argument or idea in one minute; once you can handle that time constraint (use a bell or buzzer to help know when time is up, resist the urge to keep talking) then move to 30 seconds, 20 seconds and then choose the best 10 second clip and practice that too.


Get Trained Up Before You Need To

Everyone needs to practice, whether you’re a seasoned top spokesperson or a niche subject matter expert.  MediaStyle offers custom media relations training sessions in Ottawa with on-camera interview practice and crisis communications exercises. Learn more and get in touch here.

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