PR 101: Media Training Tips for Men
Media training means learning the art of making a good impression for the media. Or rather, not making a fool of yourself and upsetting people on the telly. While talking to the media comes naturally for some, for others it’s a terrifying game of dodge the blunder.
If you’re a bloke, there’s now more scrutiny than ever on how you come across. From the perils of accidental mansplaining or boorishly talking over female guests to the forbidden act of manspreading, here are a few tips to keep you in the media’s – and the public’s – good books.
Know what you’re on about
If you’re making an appearance to talk about something, then be prepared (presumably that’s why you’ve been asked to speak anyway). Don’t blag it. Make notes a few days before and revise them, and have any of the necessary facts, figures, or statistics memorised. If you show yourself to be a knowledgeable figure, then there’s more chance of being asked to come back.
If it’s a debate, then make sure your argument is rock solid. Research your opponent and understand their argument, so you can be prepared to refute any points they might make against yours. While a TV debate should never get aggressive, think like a warlord and have all your ammo ready to fire. When you’re completely prepared it makes you a whole lot calmer, which is fantastic PR if your opponent gets their knickers in a twist.
Make a point
Of course, knowing stuff is pretty useless unless it leads into some sort of conclusion. Make sure whatever you’re talking about has a purpose and gives something for the audience to take away.
Most good interviewers will give you an opportunity to round-up your appearance with a few final words, so make a compelling journey during your interview to get to that point. There’s nothing worse than an appearance or interview, in which the guest doesn’t really say anything worthwhile.
Don’t avoid questions
We’ve all seen those Paxman interviews where a shady politician will spend 5-minutes dancing around a question like a prima ballerina. If you know you’re going to be making an appearance where the media will be asking you difficult questions, be ready to answer them.
Of course, you don’t need to divulge all the nitty, gritty details. Rather than letting your publicity manager interrupt and block questions mid-interview (a horrible PR practice), pre-plan some direct answers, and make sure they’re satisfying. Usually it’s far better for your image to just be frank with the facts, and in the case of a controversy, completely transparent.
Avoid a social etiquette faux pas
With social media making everything so sharable and re-watchable these days, any TV or radio appearance is open to lots of scrutiny. Visible nerves can be forgiven, but basic social etiquette usually isn’t.
Unless you have appalling social skills, the general rule of thumb is to do all the things you’d usually do when interacting with someone anyway: be polite, listen, don’t interrupt others, and appear interested in the conversation. As a man, ensure your tone doesn’t come off as patronising when you’re speaking to women. And when you’re sitting, try not to display your groin to the entire nation – especially if it’s breakfast TV.
Maintain eye contact
If you’ve given a TV interview before, then you’ll know just how distracting a studio environment can be. Off-camera there are lights, equipment, moving cameras and stage managers making weird gestures towards the presenters.
As bewildering as this might be, try to shut it all out and stay focused on the matter at hand. Make eye contact with your interviewer, and if there are any, fellow guests too.
Let them get you camera ready
These days everyone’s pores, wrinkles and shiny T-Zones are displayed in glorious ultra HD (seriously, whose idea was that?). So, swallow your pride and let the studio’s make-up artist put a bit of slap on you.
Most of the time this is just a bit of powder to blot out any shininess. But if you’ve got any bothersome spots or dark circles, these can be fixed too. You’ll feel much better when you’re camera ready.
Dress for the occasion
When picking out an outfit, think carefully about what it says about you. Are you trying to look professional? Are you trying to look informal and relaxed? Are you trying to make a statement? The clothes we wear say a lot about us, and you want your ensemble to coincide with whatever message you’re trying to put across to the media.
There are certain things to avoid, however. Stay away from too much black or anything with a brand name or controversial slogan. And avoid stripes and small, intricate patterns, since these don’t usually appear well on camera.
Need some PR training for an upcoming appearance? Get in touch with PR Superstar, and we’ll get you primed and ready.