MARCH 12, 2019
Being interviewed by the media can be intimidating. Whether you are ambushed by a television crew during a corporate crisis, or have an opportunity to tell a positive story about your company to a national newspaper, you don’t want to mess it up. The stakes, good or bad, are high. And nothing about the experience feels natural.
The Wilbert Group, where we have five former journalists on our team including me, has always helped prep our clients for these moments. This year we have formalized and refined our media training program.
We are now offering existing and new clients a day-long program; each program is customized for the client, while also drawing on the years of experience we have media-training both executives and front-line employees. We know what ultimately works and what doesn’t.
Executive Media Training
The Wilbert Group’s executive media training program provides company leaders with the skills and confidence to communicate effectively with the news media. The program – led by former journalists Mark Braykovich and Nick Banaszak – walks participants through a variety of scenarios from real life corporate communications situations and instructs them on how to avoid media mistakes.
Braykovich was a longtime investigative reporter who rose through the journalism ranks to become the business editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He can anticipate a reporter’s line of questioning and help our clients understand the journalist’s thought process, because he has been there. Since leaving journalism a decade ago, Braykovich has media-trained a variety of executives, CEOs and lawyers. Banaszak is a former television news reporter who brings important insights on broadcast news. These two will join with a client’s account team, as well as our in-house videographer.
The training emphasizes the importance of messaging (and having that messaging ready before the interview), controlling the interview through the use of several time-tested strategies, and turning even the most difficult and negative questions into a positive for your company.
Participants also receive real-time feedback on their interview skills by conducting mock interviews, and watching those videotaped interviews with our trainers with the goal of improving with practice.
Tips also will be provided on how executives should dress and conduct themselves during interviews to put on the best public face, which is especially important for television interviews but also can drive better outcomes from print interviews.
Following the training, participants receive a customized tip sheet to help them prepare for future interviews – and The Wilbert Group at no extra charge provides refresher sessions via phone before big interviews when requested.
In a crisis, it is not always the executives who are first approached by the media. For our clients in industries where journalists are likely to show up with television cameras (retail properties and apartment buildings, for instance), we lead a group session for managers with tips on how to handle these situations.
We break into small groups for practice sessions, so folks have opportunities to practice, see themselves on camera and learn from their mistakes. We provide “tip sheets” for property offices to keep on hand for real-life situations.
The Wilbert Group
1718 Peachtree Street, Suite 1048
Atlanta, GA 30309
404 748 1250