, Australia

What franchise systems must keep in mind in media training

By Michele Herson

Media is important to franchise systems to build image, launch products and maintain the brand.

As media exposure is the primary way to reach the public, it is essential to understand how to deliver your messages in a positive manner.

Today’s media represents a vast information stream encompassing all forms of communication channels including television, radio, print, video, film, as well as, social internet mediums such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Four Square, websites and individual blogs.

A company can disseminate a message in the morning and have it circulated globally in a matter of hours. This volatile form of dissemination, called viral distribution, can be a whirlwind of goodwill or a camp fire turned into an inferno.

Therefore it is essential for franchises to ensure that their spokespersons are prepared to deliver their key messages correctly; gaining attention whilst growing and protecting the brand.

It is important to realise that journalists conduct interviews to get a story and are often searching for a sensational response, incorrect answer or embarrassing moment. Remember the adage “bad news sells."

So spokespersons must have the skills and confidence to guide the interview positively, and not allow an interviewer to paraphrase answers negatively or let the interview drift away from key messages.

For most these skills are not inherent, but can be developed through preparation with media professionals.

Experiential training - under the pressure of lights, camera and action in real time using real circumstances and issues - is a sure way to acquire the skills necessary to handle any media interview situation.

For a fee, highly trained media professionals conduct training programs for a company’s spokespersons. If this is not an option, then media training should be conducted in-house.

Whichever method is chosen, the process is simple:

The Process

1. Establish the situation

• Identify topic / issue with key messages
• Select quiet location with space for crew, equipment, interview set up
• Time / timeframe have shot-list, time each segment
• Try all interview styles interview; prepared or doorstop
• Prepare sample interview questions and spokesperson answers

2. Record interview

3. Suggested crew and equipment

• Professional trainer/s
• Cameraman
• Sound recorder
• Broadcast camera and tripod
• Sound equipment
• Lighting
• Computer, monitor, DVD burner

4. Review recording and debrief interviewee

5. Repeat exercise until spokesperson is comfortable

Do’s and Don’ts

These “do’s and don’ts” ensure a spokesperson presents in a professional manner:


1. Take your time (Don’t rush or speak to quickly)
2. Be pleasant (Don’t be angry or defensive)
3. Be professional (Establish interviewer eye contact, listen and carefully consider each question)
4. Be well dressed (Well fitting dark suit / dress, white shirt, traditional tie – nothing too colourful)
5. Be well groomed (hair neat, facial hair trimmed (if relevant) polished shoes)
6. Have a good night’s sleep (8 hours if possible)
7. Only one coffee before interview
8. Be prepared (rehearse and know key messages thoroughly)
9. Have a folder with latest accurate research data
10. Answer in single prepared sentences (Don’t go on)


1. Don’t be flippant or try to make jokes
2. Don’t acknowledge the interviewer by name or be overly familiar
3. Don’t be late
4. Don’t take telephone calls during interview – Switch phone off
5. Don’t stay to socialise after interview
6. Don’t fidget during interview (i.e.: touch face, scratch hair, sway back and forth, look away from interviewer when delivering answer or look around)
7. Don’t argue or personally attack interviewer
8. Don’t swear or use obtuse language
9. Don’t accept incorrect paraphrased statement – pleasantly restate the answer correctly

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