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Virtual Media Training Class

If media interviews are part of your job, here is the replay to Thursday’s Virtual Media Training.

Use this link to listen.

Talking to the media is hard, even on a sunny day. This is why top leaders, executives, and spokespeople take annual media training classes, either in person or as a virtual media training class. In a media interview, the pressure is on to say the right thing. Doing a media interview is even harder on your darkest day when you are in the middle of a situation that may become a crisis. You can plan and you can prepare. But can you control the media interview?

In this Virtual Media Training, we take away the fear of the media and media interviews by giving you practical techniques to be your best on, potentially, your worst day.

Not every crisis results in a media interview. However, it only takes that one rare interview to damage your revenue, reputation, and brand. Plus, when eyewitnesses are telling your story on social media, the pressure increases for you to issue a statement at the speed of social media.

In this Virtual Media Training Class we will:

  • Examine the power of a preamble in your public statement
  • Explore the differences between an ad-lib statement vs. using a script
  • Understand the critical role of answering questions before they are asked
  • Unlock secrets to avoid the speculation trap
  • Discover the trick to control how the final news report is edited

Your FREE registration has been paid for by the team at SituationHub.com, which is the first and only crisis communications app that can automatically write a news release at the speed of social media.

Your host is crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud.

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Ready or Reactionary? Crisis Communication Class Replay

Virtual and Live Keynote Presentation: “Words Matter”

Can you name one leader that used the wrong words – costing themselves their career, company, or city thousands or millions of dollars, or worse, lives?

Words matter. Words can inspire. Words can motivate. Words can comfort and console us.

We have plenty of case studies of business leaders, political leaders, and leaders around the world who either said the right thing at the right time or the wrong time at the wrong time. Budgets destroyed, companies destroyed, political careers destroyed, and cities destroyed. Just take Hurricane Katrina for example, and the wrong words that the Mayor used at a critical time. People died, in my opinion, because of what he said and what he failed to say.

There is a secret to picking the right word at the right time to achieve the right results.

These secrets are revealed in this customizable keynote presentation, as well as my crisis communications plans, crisis communications drills, and spokesperson media training.

To prepare your words for your next crisis and talk about your needs, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Virtual Presentation: “Don’t Talk to the Media & Words Matter”

If you could attach a dollar value to every word you say, would you make money or would you lose money?

Do your words in media interviews or even in conversation with clients, stakeholders, and colleagues enhance your profits, or destroy your revenue, reputation, and brand? The story I’m sharing here appears in my media training classes, as well as in my keynote presentations, “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…” and “Words Matter.”

How much do words matter? In this story, a company spokesperson destroys a $700-million dollar project in a 12-second soundbite. Watch this video to learn to mess up in private, not in public:

“A license to pollute.” Yikes. 4,000 construction jobs never created. 400 permanent jobs never created. Taxes were never paid. Safer roads were never built. The audience heard him say “We have a license to kill.” What should have been said? This spokesperson should have had proper media training to understand and communicate the three things he promises to protect. Preparation needs to be done before the real interview.

Ultimately, you should talk to the media to tell the story of your brand. The keyword is “until.” The key is to do it properly and understand the rules of engagement. The first lesson is don’t talk to the media, but talk to the media’s audience. The media are not your audience. The people at home are your audience. Talk to them. Manage their expectations.

To talk further about how to prepare to talk to the media or how this virtual presentation could benefit your boss or your colleagues, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Media Training for Covid-19 Key Messages: Rule of Threes

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The brain remembers three things better than five. That is why the Rule of Threes is a foundation of media training. So when key medical experts testified before Congress recently, the nit-picker in me appreciated their five tips for preventing the spread of Covid-19, yet I know that a minor shift to three tips could result in more effective crisis communications.

The doctors all suggested:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Wash your hands frequently
  3. Practice social distancing
  4. Avoid crowds at businesses, bars, and social gatherings
  5. Avoid large family gatherings

Although their advice seems fairly straightforward, as a professional media trainer and crisis communications expert, I am always examining how to communicate more effectively in a crisis.

Watch the video to learn how you can convert these five points into three key messages to clearly explain the guidelines in a way that the spokesperson can easily remember, and listeners can easily remember, using the Rule of Threes, and our Key Message Tree mind-mapping model.

This media training model can be applied to every event for every spokesperson. When you apply the Rule of Threes, your media training will be far more effective.

If you’d like to learn more, schedule a no-obligation conversation with me using this link: https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

“Covid-19 Death Toll is Like 5 Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets Crashing Every Day:” Crisis Communications Tips to Land Analogies

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Crisis communications surrounding Covid-19 has been difficult. Why is it that you can put a medical expert in front of the media and they have difficulty landing your crisis communications message?

From a communications standpoint, it comes down to: 

  • facts
  • passion
  • outrage, and 
  • fear.

Before reading this blog further, watch the INTRO to the video which describes the disclaimer, my personal bias, and my personal goal for putting out this message:

Now, imagine if a medical expert got on television and made the impassioned plea below: (Note, the entire plea is demonstrated in today’s video for training purposes.)

“The daily death toll from Covid-19 in the United States is like five Boeing 737 Max 8 jets crashing every day and killing everyone on board.

Think about this. Governments around the world were outraged that 346 people died in two crashes of 737 Max 8 jets. Governments and airlines banned the planes from flying because 346 people died.

Yet here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, and there is no outrage when the number of people who die each day in the United States is equal to five jets crashing each day. 

The number of people who have died since the onset of the pandemic in the United States in March is equal to 750 jets crashing and killing everyone on board.

As a country, would we sit idly by if five jets crashed every day? 

As a country, would we be outraged if 750 jets fell out of the sky and killed 150,000 U.S. Citizens?

We would not stand for it.

If terrorists shot down five jets every day in the United States and killed 1,000 people, would we not declare war?

If terrorists killed 150,000 U.S. Citizens over five months, would we not mobilize every bit of energy we have as a united nation to stop them from taking one more life?

So then why is it that we are okay with letting 1,000 U.S. Citizens die every day from a disease that we can fight and stop?

So then why is it that we are okay with letting 150,000 U.S. Citizens die in five months from a disease that we can fight and stop?”  

©2020 Diversified Media, LLC

(…and scene.)

(Footnote: An Axios poll release while I am writing this says 30% of Americans believe the numbers I just used from the CDC are inflated.)

The opposing viewpoint has been effectively using the analogy that says:

“Covid-19 deaths are no different than the deaths we see every year from the common flu.”

The second analogy about the flu has stuck with about one-third of Americans, according to polls.

Here are three reasons why one side has been more successful in messaging:

  1. Medical experts are trying to sell scientific facts.
  2. Medical experts are failing to sell compelling fear or outrage.
  3. and #3 … and this is a big one… those with opposing views have done a better job of getting out front with their own analogies first.

And I’ll add this point to number 3 — Those who have been selling their analogies better, have sold them as a dismissive message to an audience that is usually motivated by fear. In other words, people who are normally motivated and inspired by fear are being told, “You have nothing to fear.”

— Now before you start wondering if this blog is motivated by my politics, the answer is no. For more than 25 years I’ve worked to share crisis communications strategies with you and this is just one more lesson.

It should be noted, that in most crises, there are not two opposing arguments. For example, when a jet crashes and kills all 200 people on board, the President, members of Congress, Governors, and elected officials are not standing in front of the media saying,

“It’s just one jet. More people die every day from the flu than died in that airplane crash.”

So no, this is not a blog that takes sides on the issue because of politics. It is a blog about how to be effective in your crisis communications.

Where did my airplane crash analogy come from? Recently on a television news program, a doctor was trying to use the analogy, but he failed to land the analogy. The doctor failed because his delivery of the analogy lacked passion, fear, and outrage.

So here are the realities as I write this on July 26, 2020:

  • Many passenger jets carry 200 people.
  • The 737 Max 8 was pulled from service after two crashes killed 346 people.
  • Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. at this point have reached daily death tolls of 1,000 people.

In conclusion:

  • Analogies are a great way to communicate.
  • Analogies that tap into fear and outrage can be more effective.
  • If you use analogies, you must sell the message with passion and outrage.
  • When your analogy is compelling, others will use it.

We’ve watched the viral spread of the analogy that Covid-19 deaths are no different than the flu. Let’s watch to see if the analogy about the airline crash takes off.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

How to Do a Remote Media Interview: COVID-19 Media Training Tips

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The number of remote media interviews, online interviews, Zoom interviews, and the like have skyrocketed in the past few weeks. In last week’s video, I asked you, who is doing them well? How is the quality of the videos?

Well, today I am providing you with expert media training strategies to help you look professional, organized, and credible as a source for your media interview.

If lighting, camera angles, technology, and wardrobe stress you out (and rightfully so), this video can help you be a video producer in your own home office or other remote location.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

COVID-19 Media Interviews: Share Your Thoughts

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has spawned new aspects of crisis communications and media interviews. Behold, the social distancing media interview done from your computer in your home.

What do you think about these interviews?

Your assignment for the day is to:

  1. Watch TV
  2. Take a photo of an interview being done from home
  3. Critique how the interview looks
  4. Send your image and your critique to me at any of my platforms, and feel free to include the hashtag #TVInterviews

Here are some criteria to look for and to comment on:

  1. Camera angle
  2. Lighting
  3. Background
  4. Glare
  5. Distractions
  6. Posture
  7. …plus anything else that you observe that your professional colleagues should either duplicate or avoid.

Share them via:

@gbraud on Twitter

Gerard Braud on LinkedIn

The BraudCast on YouTube

Braud Communications on Facebook

After you share your observations, I’ll share them back with our community so you’ll be better prepared if you or one of your team members is called upon to do a television interview via your computer from home.

Should you need in-depth training, we can provide you with remote media training for remote interviews as well as train-the-trainer remote training so you can coach your executives and subject matter experts. To learn more, schedule a call: https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Many of the techniques you have learned in traditional media training still apply. Yet, at the same time, there are some clear distinctions and additional burdens. Think of it this way: In a traditional television interview, the news crew is responsible for things you never need to think about, such as:

  • lighting
  • audio quality
  • the background view
  • background noise
  • the camera angle
  • and more

Whereas you traditionally needed to focus on:

  • what you were going to say
  • your wardrobe
  • your body language
  • and more

Suddenly, you have to do both your job and their job.

It isn’t easy. I’ll work on a checklist for all of you, but by all means, if you need professional training we’re here to be your training partner.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

You’re Ruining Your Reputation on Social Media: Use 5 Basic Rules

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The ability for the global community to post online comments in countless ways and forums makes the world even more frightening for those trying to manage their reputation. For the sake of discussion here, when I use the term social media, I’m talking about all postings to the internet that allow your reputation to be improved or destroyed, as well as the gadgets that make it all possible. There are

3 ways you can get hurt in the world of social media:

  1. When your public actions are photographed or video taped, then posted to the web
  2. When your reputation is attacked on social sites and blogs
  3. When you willingly participate in on-line discussions and do a poor job communicating

For example, there is a video posted to the web of a county commissioner being hounded by a television reporter. When asked after a public meeting to justify the delay in opening a new county juvenile justice center, the commissioner asks the reporter, “Elliot, do you know that Jesus loves you?” The commissioner then dodges every one of the reporter’s subsequent questions by trying to engage in a discussion about why the reporter should accept Jesus as his personal savior. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the answer is inappropriate because it is not germane to the news report, and by repeating a variation of it as the answer to every question, it only makes the official look more like he is guilty of hiding something.

Prior to the advent of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook.com and YouTube.com, such buffoonery would have been seen once or twice on the local evening news, the commissioner would have become the butt of some brief local mockery and embarrassment, but within a few days it would all pass.

But in the age of social media, millions of people around the world are able to watch the video and laugh at its absurdity on a daily basis. Some will post a link to their own website, or forward a link via e-mails to friends. This is what viral and social media is all about. This video lives forever on the world wide web and so does the commissioner’s embarrassment, mockery and humiliation, as people perpetually forward the video to their network of real friends and online acquaintances.

Issues like this are one of the reasons you should consider Social Media Training. Social Media Training is a program I pioneered to teach communicators and executives the realities and how their reputations can be damaged by public actions that are either voluntarily, or involuntarily captured, and posted to the web.

Numerous reputations and careers have been destroyed because of what someone says in a presentation to what is perceived as a friendly group. Inevitably, an audience member records the speech or presentation, then either posts a portion of it to the web or gives it directly to the media.

Cloaked with an audience of perceived friends, speakers often “cross the line” by their comments, only to face humiliation, embarrassment, and in many cases a long list of apologies and even the loss of their jobs because they thought their comments were made in private and off the record. If you are hosting a social media training class, you may wish to combine it with a presentation skills class.

Social Media Training is also needed before communicators and executives voluntarily attempt to participate in online communities. This is true whether one is responding to a posting made by someone else, or whether you are the one posting to a personal or corporate blog for your organization.

For instance, I found a random blog entry one day as I prepared to teach a Social Media Seminar. The blog entry was from a top executive from General Motors. The blog entry, posted on an official GM site, featured a photo of the executive. The guy in the photo looked like he was delivering an angry rant on stage at a corporate meeting. His blog entry, likewise, took an angry, rant style with a tone that personified, “I know better than you.”

His comment was a reply to a blog posting critical of GM’s poor gasoline mileage in its SUV’s. Because of how the executive worded his rather pompous response, many more participants in the blog criticized his parsed words and reply, which reflected the official corporate line.

In short, the executive’s poor choice of words was like throwing gasoline on a small fire, turning it into a bigger fire. It didn’t need to be that way.

CEO’s and executives need to think carefully before they participate in social media and corporate communicators need to think carefully before asking or allowing executives to actively participate in social media.

There are a few basic things communicators and executives should consider in the world of social media:

1. Are you good with traditional media? If you are not good with traditional media, what makes you think you can handle social media?

2. How do you behave in public? Do you realize that every public moment of your life is potentially being photographed or recorded? Your public behavior, what you do and say, who you associate with, and where you are seen in public, can all be posted to the web for the entire world to see.

My 5 basic rules for social media:

1) Every rule of media training applies to social media. Every word and how those words are phrased will be carefully scrutinized.

2) Edit what you say constantly to avoid having your comments taken out of context.

3) The rule of ethics is to ask whether you behavior in private is the same as the way you would behave if people were watching you. Congruency of behavior is important.

4) Before jumping into an online blog type discussion, you need to be prepared to use key messages and making sure those key messages have been run through the cynic filter. Bloggers are cynical and brutal.

5) Sometimes the best response to a blog posting is to ask a question. Rather than attacking a blogger for their point of view, simply ask them to further explain their point of view. Sometimes a blogger will back down as they are unable to defend their position. Sometimes other bloggers will come to your rescue with responses that match your point of view.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

How to Media Train a Spokesperson for a Crisis?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

In the world of media training and media interviews, there are some serious flaws that you should avoid. These are especially true when you have to do a media interview during a crisis.

Here are a few:

  • Media training is not about how to be fast on your feet; it is about how to be prepared so there are no surprise questions.
  • Your goal is not to answer every question. Your goal should be to control the questions you get asked, the answers you give, and ultimately, to control the final edit of the news stories about your crisis.
  • Three key messages based on bullet points is an asinine concept and needs to be eradicated. Well-worded, internalized, verbatim sentences and quotes must be your spokesperson’s secret weapon.

Your best bet for your spokesperson? Read from a script.

(Get more details when you download our free video course on the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications)

The pre-written news release we spoke of in yesterday’s blog should be your script for your news conference.

In addition to the tips we offered on how to write a great crisis news release, here is one more: Your news release, and ultimately that news release as the script you will read, should pro-actively answer every question you are going to be asked in the news conference.

“That’s impossible,” you say?

“How can that be done,” you ask?

I bet you are thinking, “No one knows every question you are going to be asked in a news conference.”

Surprise. There are only two types of questions that get asked in a news conference.

  • News conference question type #1: Factual based questions, such as who, what, when, where.
  • News conference question type #2: Speculation based questions, such as how and why.

Put the facts in your news release.  Read the facts in your news conference from your script. Next, deflect speculative questions with pre-written answers such as,

Regarding the exact cause of the explosion, at this time it would be inappropriate for us to speculate on the cause. We will have to wait for an investigation to tell us what happened, how it happened, and how we might keep it from happening again.

In media training for a crisis, your spokesperson must be trained to internalize the sentence that deflects speculations. In media training, your spokesperson must be given permission to say that line multiple times, until the reporters understand that despite rephrasing the question many times, the answer is still the same.

Also in media training for a crisis, your spokesperson needs to internalize the above sentence so that it sounds thoughtful and spontaneous. You don’t want your spokesperson delivering the line with anger or frustration.

As for reading from a script, recognize that it isn’t easy. Remember:

  • There is an art to reading slow.
  • There is an art to being able to read and look up to make eye contact with the audience.
  • There is an art to being able to look back at your script when the questions start coming, so you can repeat an answer that you’ve used before.

Lastly, media training for a crisis is something that every spokesperson should do at least once a year. Media training is not a bucket-list item that you do once in life. Media training is a skill-set that requires regular practice with a great coach who will be brutally honest with you and perpetually challenge you to be a crisis communications expert.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

There’s No Room for Your Facts in a Media Interview

When I was a reporter, I was always joking around in the newsroom. One day, I declared,

“Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

We all laughed. A colleague was pushing for a story to make the evening news, but there were lots of holes in the story and I wanted my story to be the lead story. I won and got the lead story. The colleague’s story was killed.

Over the years we used the joke here and there, but then we began to realize that way too much of what made the news at our TV station and at those of our competitors, made the news regardless of the facts. In the end, it was one of the reasons I left the news business after a great 15-year ride.

But let’s be honest. How many news stories are filled with facts? The truth is, not a lot. Newspaper stories will always have more details than TV and radio news reports. But TV stories, especially, are driven by visual images. The example that I always use is that if the story is about a brown cow, I need video of a brown cow. If I have no video of a brown cow, I can’t put the story on the evening news.

Another example I always use is the mixed metaphor that says,

“If a tree falls in the woods and it is not on video, is it news?”

When I used to cover hurricanes in the ‘80s and ‘90s I was always upset when I didn’t have video of something blowing away. I needed the visual on video to tell the story.

A print reporter will likely write only a 12-20 sentence synopsis, a radio reporter is only writing 6-8 sentences and a TV reporter is only writing 10-12 sentences.

The average person tries to give way, way, way too many facts in a news interview.

Take this comment with a grain of salt, but the reporter doesn’t really care about you or the facts. Sure, they seem interested in you, but their report is more important to them personally than your facts.

A news report is a puzzle. Certain pieces must fit exactly together. In a TV report, quotes make up one-third of the story. The lead and the conclusion together make up one-third of the story. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but can you guess how much room we have in the story for your facts? In a TV news report, that equals 4 sentences. In a print report that equals 8-12 sentences.

If there is no room in the story for a bunch of facts, why would you spend so much time giving lots of facts to the reporter? Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash