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Top 5 Pitfalls of the Untrained Spokesperson

Updated: Apr 14

"I don't need media training."

If I had a nickel every time an executive or client told me this, I’d have at least a dollar or two. And sadly, the person resisting media training would have generated much more value if they would have welcomed the coaching ahead of an interview instead of after falling flat on their face.

But alas… I digress.

A robust media training session takes a spokesperson through the entire process with dry run interviews and in-depth training on key techniques. If you aren’t sure you or your spokesperson could benefit from a media training session, we’ve put together these top five common pitfalls of the untrained spokesperson.

1.       No clear headline.

If the spokesperson isn’t clear about the headline they want to come out of the interview, they are allowing their message to get totally lost. Many times I hear, “I’m just going to answer their questions.”  This is a first indicator they are clueless about the value of these opportunities or their role in them.


2.       Danger of rambling.

You want as many questions as possible, but if you start rambling or have no clue where you are going, the reporter will get lost too and probably ask a totally unrelated question to find something interesting they can use. If you are working with a seasoned reporter, this could be a controversial question you really DON’T want, but you have given them nothing else to use. Rambling roses collect thorns.


3.       Can’t tie responses to questions back to organization values.

We call this “bridging,” and it’s a skill one must learn and practice. While it may feel unnatural at first, it will help your communicate your organization’s values effectively. To ramble is human… to bridge is divine!


4.       Sloppy presentation.

Even if you aren’t doing a live broadcast interview, many interviews are on video conference, so every detail of your appearance should be reviewed and refined ahead of time. Also, do your homework on the reporter, previous stories they have covered and where they potentially are going with the story. Your PR pro should prepare briefing materials that can help with this.


5.       Lack of enthusiasm.

If you aren’t excited about your organization, no one else will be either – especially a reporter working on a deadline or one trying to keep their job. While the reporter themselves may not be buying your product or service, the people reading or watching them are. Those are your people, so show up like it was your biggest sales opportunity ever. The infectious enthusiasm will come through.


These five pitfalls just scratch the surface for preparing for media interviews and why you need media training. If you want to schedule a full media training session, let us know. We can put you through the proverbial ringer and give you the tools you need to knock your next media interview out of the park!

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