Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III, “Media Training”

During Saturday’s first breakout session, I attended “Media Training” with Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III. Dr. Trahan is the president and CEO of Trahan & Associates. He has more than twenty-nine years of media training experience in governmental, association, educational and non-profit public relations.

Trahan began with the three Cs of media relations: control, competence and concern. You must display these qualities on your face, in your words and in your actions.

An example of an organization with good media relations is the United States Coast Guard. Every single member of the organization gets media training. This training is essential to public opinion of the Coast Guard because no matter what is asked, or who is asked, members of the Coast Guard know how to respond to media and maintain their message.

“Listen, pause and think” before responding to media, says Trahan.

When preparing executives in your organization, make sure they know how to respond to questions while maintaing your key messages. Trahan recommends the 5x5x5 rule: prepare your executives with five good questions you would want the reporter to ask, five bad questions and five critical questions. The goal is to be harder on your executives in preparation than you think the media will be.

“It is better to be over prepared than under prepared,” says Trahan.

Before standups or news conferences, Trahan recommends one hour of prep time for each time per minute of air time. So, if you are anticipating a 13 minute news conference, you need to spend 13 hours preparing.

For interviews, you need to open with a 25 to 40 second summary of your message. Prepare with the 5 Ws. Each statement you make needs to stand on its own, so answer questions completely. In filmed interviews, it is important to look at the reporter, not at the camera. Non verbal cues are just as important as what is said. Always remain common and confident. If you know the answer to a question, always answer it. If you don’t know the answer, acknowledge this and explain why.

“To convince your bosses that your methods are good, present them with examples of the good, bad and ugly,” says Trahan.

This post is the second in a series from the 2012 PRSSA National Conference. Be sure to read my previous post featuring key note speaker, Timothy Jordan.

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