My training gives you the confidence to know that your reputation is protected. It’s unfair for innocent leaders to be portrayed badly by the news media because they fall into invisible media interview traps or don’t communicate early enough when bad news hits. This can have a huge impact on your reputation and organisation, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
My services and products are focused on helping you protect your good name and that of your organisation. They allow you to go about your busy job knowing that if a negative issue or crisis erupts, you have the skills and tools to deal with it, no matter how serious. In a nutshell, it’s taking out an insurance policy on your reputation.
The training shows you how to get your messages across to news media and other audiences quickly and in the way you intend. Not distorted, not too late, but in a clear and prompt way that portrays you as a responsible leader or organisation committed to doing the right thing.
There are many things in today’s world that can stop this happening. Spokespeople are sometimes quoted out of context, misquoted, or be made to look guilty or foolish.
“I want my life back:” A quote pulled out of context by the media from BP CEO Tony Hayward after the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill that severely dented his reputation
As a former journalist, I know how these things happen. Most of the time it’s something that’s easily avoided. Its usually simple for spokespeople to give reporters what they want, while also getting their own points across. Reporters will produce a story on the issue whether you like it or not. Your best approach is to help them while also helping yourself. In other words, dress up the points you want to get across in interesting ways that will also satisfy the reporter.
As a media advisor for a leading government minister and a crisis communication advisor for various organisations, I can relate to the stress that goes with facing the media in high stakes situations. The demands of journalists at a high level can be daunting, but the spokesperson and organisation that is prepared can turn most negative situations to their advantage. But they must know how in advance. It’s far too late once the unthinkable happens.
The need to respond to media requests promptly in the digital era is another reason messages get distorted, particularly when an organisation doesn’t have a plan for dealing with media and public scrutiny. Most organisations have Emergency Management Plans, and some have Business Continuity Plans. But many lack a Crisis Communication Plan. Staff know what to do when there’s a fire, but what about 20 reporters arriving in your reception area with cameras rolling. What needs to be done, and who does it?
Many reputations have been damaged or destroyed because Crisis Communication Plans weren’t in place. Among other things, these need to assign roles, organise multiple communication channels with media and other stakeholders, and include media statements prepared and ready to send out on potential scenarios.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. Warren Buffett
My training is all focused on helping you protect your reputation. It gives you the confidence to know you can deal with negative media and public attention, not matter how serious.
When that difficult media attention comes your way, do you feel confident you can control it, or do you feel vulnerable? Is your organisation prepared for a mass of reporters arriving the minute a crisis or negative event occurs, not to mention the social media frenzy that can threaten reputations and even business survival?
If you’re like me, you know what corporate speak is but think it’s something only other people use. If I’m right, think again. I’ve found myself using it without even realising it, even though it has no place in the media.
Here are a few examples. If you’re like lots of my media training clients, you may have woven them into your everyday language to the point where you think they are normal. Believe me, they are not.
There are far simpler ways of saying these things and good communicators know that. Think of Winston Churchill or Barack Obama. They wouldn’t say, “Moving Forward”, they would say, “In the future”. They wouldn’t say, “At the present point in time”, they’d say, “Now”.
There are two reasons words like this shouldn’t be used in the media. Firstly, some people without a business background won’t understand what you mean. They’ll also lose respect for you because it may look as if you’re trying to show how intelligent you are. It’s important to relate to people on their level like Churchill and Obama did.
Secondly, even people who do understand you will take longer to digest the information. When simple language is used, our brains take next to no time to process it. But we take longer to digest corporate speak, meaning that even so-called ‘sophisticated people’ will miss some of your message while they are processing the initial part of it.
Always be aware of this when created your media messages for interviews and when you are answering questions. Practice is the only way to avoid this common trap.
A quote from Winston Churchill is the perfect way to end this post. “Short words are the best and old words, when short, are the best of all.”
If you haven’t already, download my free report, “The Five Steps to Pain-Free Media Interviews” at the following address. https://www.peteburdon.com/Free-White-Paper/