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Media Training: An Ongoing Learning Process, Not A One-Time Event

Public relations professionals and their clients often think of media training as a one-and-done event, but it is not. Media training should be considered an ongoing learning process, says Ed Barks, a communications training consultant and author of the book The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations.

Barks was the speaker at the Independent Public Relations Alliance September meeting. He compares media training to teaching a teenager to drive a car. A new driver doesn’t get one driving lesson and then get handed the keys and a driver’s license. Learning to drive is a process that requires training and practice as well as ongoing guidance and feedback.

PR professionals should encourage leaders they work with to think of media training as an ongoing learning process, Barks says. CEO’s understand media training can help them effectively communicate on behalf of their company, and it can also be a long-term career booster.

Media training should be part of a long-term learning program. It is not always a long session with message and camera training. It can be in the form of seminars, workshops and short sessions. Musicians and athletes get coached and practice all the time. Communicators should too.

The Reis Group applies these ideas when we work with scientists and medical professionals. Like many people with deep technical knowledge, these professionals not only need to learn how to smoothly deliver key messages, they must also continually practice translating the jargon for a general audience. These are skills that are not mastered in one session, but with practice and coaching.

About the Author: Beth Casteel provides communications counsel and hands-on delivery for clients, developing and helping implement media strategies.

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