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Essential skills and confidence required for success in media engagements

13 September, 2023

Cindy Vuong, Customer Success Manager at Medianet sat down with Nic Hayes, Managing Director of Media Stable, to discuss the secrets behind effective spokesperson preparation. Their discussion aimed to empower anyone who needs to front the media with the essential skills and confidence required for success in media engagements. Here are the key takeaways from the ‘Own your earned media - engaging media confidently webinar': 


The importance of effective media engagements

Effective communication with the media is about achieving results and reaching your target audience. In a world full of ineffective media communication that lacks a clear message or call to action, standing out is essential. There is a need for meaningful communication that connects with both your brand's goals and the interests of your target audience.

Nic also stressed the importance of humanising your brand:

"We want to hear from the humans. We don't necessarily want to hear from the brands that represent your brand, you are your brand, but we want to hear from you."

Today's consumers want to hear from real people, not faceless corporations. Be the face of your brand, and build trust and credibility by connecting on a personal level with your audience.


Journalists are not the enemy

A common misconception about media engagements is the fear that journalists are out to get you. Nick debunked this myth, explaining that journalists have one job to do, and that's to serve their audience. They aren't looking to trip you up or create problems. By understanding the journalist's perspective and building a mutually beneficial relationship, you can collaborate effectively with the media.

The do's and don'ts for successful media interactions
    • Be available: After sending out a press release, be ready and available to engage with the media.

    • Don't ask for interview copies: Avoid requesting copies of interviews; focus on delivering your message.

    • Mind your pre-interview habits: Steer clear of coffee or alcohol before interviews to maintain clarity and composure.

    • Dress to represent your brand: Your appearance matters, so ensure it aligns with your brand's image.

    • Prepare key messages: Have key messages ready, but deliver them naturally and conversationally.

    • Speak plainly: Use simple language and avoid industry jargon to make your message accessible.

    • Make a connection: Strive to connect with your audience genuinely and authentically.

Preparation and practice make perfect

Preparing for interviews is essential, but it's crucial not to overdo it. Nic advised finding the right balance between being well-prepared and sounding too rehearsed. Practice in various settings, record yourself and seek feedback to continuously improve your communication skills.


"Make sure that you prepare enough that you've got all the facts, you've got the figures, but you don't want to go into that sort of robotic style of delivery"

Can anyone be a spokesperson?

You don't need a journalism background to be an effective spokesperson. Find someone within your organisation who knows your brand, can speak with some authority, and is prepared to do that because the media can get frustrated with a spokesperson who doesn't really want to say anything. "You've got to have an opinion, you've got to have a position", says Nic.

Successful media engagements require a blend of preparation, practice, media landscape understanding, and effective communication skills. By following these key learnings, you can enhance your media interactions and make the most of media opportunities for your brand or organisation. So, step into the spotlight and let your message shine.

To access the webinar, simply click here. If you want to connect with Nic Hayes on LinkedIn, click here.

Medianet is the ultimate PR platform connecting you with media contacts and outlets to get your story told.

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