As predicted, despite having been a broadcast journalist for many years and media training spokespeople for almost as long, it’s still quite a nail-biting experience to go on live radio. That’s what I concluded after being invited to take part in Radio 4’s live programme, The Media Show, last week.
The nerves for me were in case I failed to live up to my own media training manual; how can I tell other spokespeople how to perform on television and radio if I made a shambles of it myself?! In hindsight I think it’s very useful to occasionally jump to the other side of the fence.
As a broadcast journalist I’d think nothing of popping into a studio and going on air and maybe that’s just the point: when you do something every day it becomes second nature, but when it only happens once in a blue moon it’s a much bigger deal.
“The 3 Ps: preparation, presentation and performance”
It’s not just an interview, a broadcast opportunity is ultimately a huge chance to sell, promote and even shift market perception about a brand or product. They don’t want to mess up.
So, in looking back at my own appearance, I tried to assess myself as I do my media training clients, in terms of the 3 Ps: preparation, presentation and performance. I definitely thought about who the audience was – all those media undergraduates, their professors, newsrooms, shift-workers at home in the middle of the afternoon and Radio 4 lovers who are tuned into the station regardless of what’s on.
Oh, and my Mum and I think the team at Shout! Communications too. I knew there were other people on the panel and I interferingly told fellow guest, the Sky Teatime presenter Mark Austin, that we were there to talk about a new degree in journalism and PR, when in fact he was there to push his book.
How well then did I present myself…when you get a moment in the spotlight we ask our spokespeople who they want to be. I’m an ex-journalist who has worked in PR for at least as long; I employ staff and I want to promote our services to PR agencies and in-house communications’ teams who outsource their broadcast PR work. I wanted to come across with a bit of gravitas, as if I knew what I was talking about! I’ve no idea if that’s the impression I created!
Most of us find television even more challenging than radio, so it added a frisson of tension to the afternoon to be told The Media Show is also recorded on camera – only a webcam, so thankfully nothing too close up!
Finally, performance. Be conversational on radio, we say – easier said than done I know. The prefect spokesperson is authoritative, opinionated, entertaining and presentable, I tell my delegates. Wow, that’s a big ask, maybe I should be a bit less demanding!
See how I did here!
However, the ultimate question of whether you’ve done a good “turn” on air is answered if you get asked back as a repeat guest. Watch this space! I hope I am.