Media training can be one of a PR professional’s toughest job requirements. Once you’re live and the cameras are rolling, there is no turning back. Millions are watching and are judging the tiniest things, from body language to word choice. Everything said in that moment is fair game for later criticism. In a PR professionals’ perfect world, our clients would have enough time to go through talking points religiously and we would have the time to appropriately ease our clients’ nerves before their big interviews, praying for the best once they’re live. But, even that doesn’t always work.
Interviews are important because, at least in pop culture, they can either alleviate or escalate a situation. A recent case in point is that of Dallas Cowboys’ player, Greg Hardy, and his first media interview since returning from suspension. During Hardy’s interview, he explained that he was ready to come back with “guns blazing.” This comment drew massive concern due to the fact Hardy was recently convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and throwing her on a bed full of guns.
But, what made matters worse was head coach, Jerry Jones, defending Hardy’s comments in an interview with Sports Illustrated, saying, “ We all know that’s just a way of expressing yourself. I hope his guns are a blazin’.”
I’m pretty sure every PR professional just cringed…
Regardless of what sector of PR you work in, we can all acknowledge that words have power. The power to sway emotions, excite the masses and, unfortunately, to sometimes make matters worse. When media training clients, it’s important that they understand why what they say and how they say it is impactful, and our job is to help them understand the significance.