Are You Ready to Meet The Press?

Think about this for a moment: Aspiring journalists typically go to some sort of journalism school, where they spend several years learning their craft. Once they graduate, they are often required to attend yet another intensive training program at the newspaper or broadcast outlet that hires them.

One of the central themes of their training concerns the need for thorough preparation. They spend hundreds of hours learning how to make use of advanced research techniques, coached in the art of asking difficult questions and taught to look for "conflict" and "colour" in the stories they cover.

Prior to conducting an interview with a business person, a journalist might spend countless hours sifting through corporate reports, news clippings and search engine results. They might then spend many more hours working with their editorial team to plan the flow of an interview -- anticipating how their interview subject will answer questions, and forming follow-up questions designed to catch them off-guard.

Contrast that with the average business person's preparation prior to an interview. Most have never even seen the inside of a news room. They have limited understanding about "the rules of the game" -- and can often be duped into saying things during an interview that they shudder to read the following day.

Our media training program is designed to even up the playing field for business people. Over the years, it has proven to be an incredibly valuable resource for our clients. Through it, they are very quickly educated about the traps to avoid when dealing with the news media. They also gain the knowledge and confidence that is necessary for media interviews and interaction.

WHO: Tom Haibeck, APR is widely acknowledged as one of British Columbia’s most effective communications strategists, and has specialized in media relations/training for the past 20 years.

WHAT: A customized training seminar on how to communicate your organization’s message through the news media/how to handle sensitive media relations issues.

WHEN: At a time of your company’s convenience. The sessions are generally conducted over a full day, which runs from 9:00 a.m. -- 4:00 p.m. Half day sessions are also available.

WHERE: In order to minimize interruptions and help focus participant’s attention, sessions are usually held in a location separate from the client’s office, such as a hotel meeting room.

WHY: To help raise participant’s awareness and understanding about how the news media operates, and to give them “hands on” experience in being interviewed and in communicating their company’s message.

HOW: The seminar is conducted through a highly entertaining and informative program that offers case studies, media do's and don'ts, simulated interviews and spokesperson critiques. All sessions are considered to be completely private and confidential.

Over the past 20 years, my associates and I have developed this program into what we believe is one of the finest training systems of its kind in Canada. We have conducted the seminar for a broad range of clients, drawn from a wide variety of categories (law; government; retail; financial services; health care; tourism; manufacturing; professional services; non-profit; high technology). Without exception, each of our clients has expressed great satisfaction with the results of the seminar.

Our goals in conducting the seminar are basically two-fold:

1. To work with you and your associates in helping develop a better understanding of how the news media operates, who they are and what their needs are;

2. To give you and your colleagues "hands on" experience in being interviewed, and to offer suggestions on how to improve each participant’s interview skills to become a more effective spokesperson for your company.

The sessions include the following components:

a) Pre-seminar research to identify the pertinent issues affecting your organization, plus a review of each participant's needs and background with respect to the subject of media relations;

b) A full review of the media’s role and needs, recommendations on how to develop a positive working relationship with the press, plus interview tips and on-camera, video-taped interviews for up to ten participants;

c) Review and critique of interviews by facilitator at seminar (time permitting);

d) A special manual for each participant on interview tips and dealing with the news media;

e) Assistance in preparing recommended “positioning statements” on sensitive issues affecting your company (this is an optional service, for which additional fees will apply).

The cost of renting an external meeting room and the serving of refreshments/lunch within that room is borne by the client. Camera and other audio-visual equipment is provided as part of the overall fee.

Our approach with media training is always constructive; we will never seek to embarrass anyone or cause undue trauma. Our purpose is to help your spokespeople gain the experience and confidence necessary to successfully communicate your organization's message, whether they are appearing in front of a live television camera or addressing a crowded auditorium at an Annual General Meeting.

For a confidential review of our media training services, please call me any time at 604-671-5491 or e-mail me (


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