How to deal with the media in a crisis. If there is a crisis in your company, you will have to talk to the media – usually straight away, while you're in the middle of it.
That's why it's essential for you and your team to be properly trained before anything happens. If you are well prepared, you can face the media with confidence.
Speed is the key
Companies that face the media straight away, and work with them during a crisis, usually end up strengthening their reputation. Companies that hide from the media and are silent in times of crisis, are much more likely to damage their reputation. We can all think of plenty of examples.
Here is Tine, talking about the secrets of crisis training on the Arts Council's podcast The Art of Leadership (February 2020):
- Preparing for the worst
- Telling the truth
- Choosing your spokesperson
- Keeping the journalists informed.
Who will the course benefit?
Anyone who is likely to have to address the media to explain your position in the event of a crisis, whether an engineer or the CEO.
- Dealing with a fast-moving bad news story
- Handling leading, aggressive, hypothetical questions
- Remaining calm and positive under pressure
- Keeping in mind who you want to reach with this interview
- Explaining in plain English how you are dealing with the crisis
- Making sure you are a trustworthy spokesperson
- Dealing with negative comments from other sources
- Understanding and using non-verbal communication
When a crisis hits, you will need to let your clients, employees, shareholders and the general public know what is going on as soon as possible. The quickest and most efficient way to do this is through the media. Make time, even if you can't really spare it, and make sure that you have a small team of trained top people, ready to talk.
This intensive one-day course gives you a highly practical strategy for dealing with a crisis. It is thoroughly researched to expose the types of crises that could hit your particular organisation.
After a short introduction, which helps you understand how best to use the range of media, Tine will present you with a number of hypothetical crisis situations. She'll help you choose the best strategy for dealing with each situation and then she'll take you through a series of increasingly tough interviews for newspapers, radio and TV. Interviews will be video recorded so you can learn from the feedback and have a chance to strengthen your technique throughout the day.
There will also be time to deal with specific topics you would like practice and guidance on, as well as time to discuss how to handle particular examples of bad news, however large or small.
Because Tine has spent a long career reporting on major crises and disasters throughout Europe, she can tell you what to expect and ensure that you will be ready to face the media to achieve the best possible outcome. You can also trust her to preserve absolute confidentiality.
When available, Tine will also be able to help you at short notice, if an urgent situation is looming. If you've done the initial training, it may be a matter of following up to focus on a particular situation with just a couple of hours' practice.
One day course content
Introduction to working with the media during a crisis
The essential message
- Press, radio, television and social media
- How to adapt your interview to the medium you are speaking to
- Understanding your audience: who do you need to reach?
- Achieving the best possible coverage of your company's handling of the crisis
- Preparing your media schedule: when to speak to whom
- Working with media deadlines
- Getting inside the journalist's mind
- Learning to face your worst fears
The newspaper/web interview
- Finding a clear focus for your message
- Power in language: analysing how you say it
- Getting technical information across clearly
- Jargon versus plain English
The radio interview
- Getting your message across in a newspaper interview
- How you can be in the driving seat
- Learning what print journalists focus on
- How to deal with leading, aggressive and hypothetical questions
- How to spot the headline
- Dealing with nerves in the interview
Succeeding in television
- How to prepare for the interview
- The importance of timing: making your message concise
- How to make sure you sound positive and human
- All the questions you should ask
- The importance of the human detail
- Live or recorded?
- Where: scene of the crisis, your office, studio, 'down the line'
- Understanding and using effective eye contact
- Positive verbal and non-verbal communication
- Thinking in images
- Mastering the sound bite