Media Training in Stages

I recently sat down to swap business tales with a colleague who runs a marketing agency. It’s always good to gain the perspective of others, and I am most appreciative of those who are generous with their ideas; I try to reciprocate whenever possible. Sometimes they can really help crystallize nascent ideas or raise new ones. This conversation involved a little of both.


One of my longstanding gripes about the way some companies approach media training is that they view it as a one-off affair. This is irritating, for no executive —  regardless of how smart they are or how quickly they learn — can gain sustained improvement in a single day.

Sure, in one day we can tighten up their message to a degree (assuming they already have one; if they don’t, we’ll devote time to crafting it) and spend some time sharpening their communications skills. But a one-time workshop just won’t get the job done.

My colleague offered a persuasive outlook. He broke down media training into several distinct segments. This was one of those, “How come I never thought of that?” moments. The basis of his idea is that media training has four stages:

  1. Developing and tightening messaging
  2. Gaining familiarity with the media
  3. Participating in simulated exercises
  4. Creating a map of ongoing improvement

He went on to say that some companies need all four stages while others require only one or two. His larger point was that a breakdown like this helps to make it easier for companies to grasp just what goes into an effective, sustained media training program.

He also noted that such a program involves regular sessions with me, both formal training workshops and more informal consultations. These would take place in person; via telephone, Skype, or Google Hangout; or through email. He likened this approach to a therapist with whom one might have regular appointments, or the insurance agent you sit down with once a year to assess your coverage.

Here’s where I need your help. Are the four stages outlined above on point or do they need reworking? What is persuasive about the above points? What falls flat? If you were seeking an impactful long-term training strategy for your spokespeople’s professional development, how would you build it?

Go to town with your thoughts in the comments section. All viewpoints appreciated.



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