Put me in coach! Why media experts matter

Maybe you just launched a startup or have been in business for years and have exciting news to share. So, you post on social media, hit up a networking event and tell your friends and family every single detail… but, then what?

Cue the media and the big-time role it plays in what’s shared – for better or worse – with the masses. So, how do you ensure that your message shines in the spotlight and doesn’t fall flat? Media training.

One interview gone wrong can sour even the greatest reputation (think lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s comment about the shape of a woman’s thighs). Let’s face it, we’ve all watched someone scramble during an interview, and it’s seriously one of the most painful things to watch. You know what I’m talking about. Wide-eyed, with your jaw dropped you can’t turn away, and love or hate the person being interviewed, you feel yourself pleading with them to Just. Stop. Talking (case in point: US Governor Sarah Palin’s campaign trail).

A printed article, a la Katherine Heigl during the peak of the Grey’s Anatomy era, can do just as much damage with the potential of one awkward quote (and yes, media will likely choose that one) sparking a reputation disaster (hello crisis communications!!!). Unfortunately, this happens – a lot.

Enter media training. With a few simple tips you can rock your next media interview and ensure your message isn’t hijacked by a rookie mistake or even that of an unpracticed pro.

A 2017 TED Talk led by Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health professional, demonstrates the value of media training via a discussion focused on the concept of coaching.

Specifically, he says that although pro athletes have coaches throughout their entire careers – people who are paid to observe and critique their skills so they can continuously perform at their best – other professions don’t think to hire coaches.

The question being, why not? In Gawande’s case, he tested his theory, bringing a “coach” into the operating room to provide feedback. The results were extraordinary, and his outcomes greatly improved – thank goodness for the person on the table!

No matter which sector you operate in, hiring a coach, or in this case a media expert, can provide anyone from a first-time entrepreneur to a local business owner to the director of a major organization with the skills to nail interviews and gain meaningful media coverage (and avoid a clip that will inevitably show up as an embarrassing meme for years to come… thank you, Internet).

You know your business; that’s why you’re awesome at what you do, but a media expert knows media and having a coach in your corner gives you a competitive edge on the proverbial playing field.

So, when the time is right for you to get in the game, make sure you’re ready to rock.