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Media Training: In the Spotlight

  December 13, 2022

Celebrities, politicians and other high-profile people are in the media spotlight so often that you'd think they would always be prepared.  Not so.  Just a few head shaking moments:

  • Kathy Hilton was a presenter at the People's Choice Awards.  While on stage the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star pulled a lip gloss from her purse and applied it during Marisa Hargitay's acceptance speech.  Did she think she was out of camera position? Hard to imagine anyone with so much time in front of cameras could be this clueless. Hilton has since apologized.
  • Over at ABC, "GMA3 co-anchors Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes have become a distraction.  Both are apparently separated from their spouses and their dating one another doesn't  break any obvious network rules.  So why did the network take them off the air? Because they became the story.  The pair didn't have the chance to control the narrative.  It may not be fair, but it's reality.
  • Sports personality Francis Ellis has been a regular guest on Fox News.  I'm betting that is about to change.  Why? He was caught on a hot mic trashing the network and its talent.  How many people are caught this way? 

I give these examples to illustrate that being in the media spotlight can be tricky even for those with a lot of experience.  For small business owners and executives media exposure can be boon for business but it can also bring a lot of scrutiny.  So how do you prepare?

  • Know your talking points inside and out.
  • If your company is in a crisis, game out the worst case scenarios before doing any interview.  Your internal communications' team or an outsidemedia trainer can throw hardball questions at you during your prep.
  • Anytime you are near a microphone just assume it is on.
  • In studio they could cut to you at any moment so act like you are on-camera until you leave the set.  
  • Learn the art of the apology.  This is a good lesson in everyday life, but it is especially important when your misdeeds or misspoken words go public.  

All of this is important to protect your brand, maintain or repair your reputation, and to control your messaging.

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