You may have a trainer at the gym, a teacher for guitar lessons or a life coach to help you meet broader goals. In every case, the idea behind retaining a coach is to improve your skills and gain more from your experiences.
The same is true when working with a media coach. Even the most seasoned and media-savvy executives find that working with a media coach helps them get more out of interviews.
Here are important ways a media coach can help:
Start with the basics. A strong media coach will work with you before an interview to get the key facts in order. This helps you focus on what’s important to discuss during an interview and gives you a sense of what is likely to be considered useful by the reporter. The coach will listen to the interview in real time and regroup with you afterwards to discuss ways to improve by using more colorful language and better imagery, telling more concise stories, and picking up on follow up opportunities and segues.
Prepare for the worst. In the internet age, it is very easy for a reporter to dredge up negative information and start asking questions. Rather than wishing negative news will go away, a media coach can help you prepare for questions so your answers are polished and you are comfortable delivering them. A media coach will help craft answers that address the reporter’s concerns without becoming the focus of the interview.
Speak for success. We learn our speech patterns at an early age largely by mimicking what others say to us. That’s why you often hear the comment “You sound just like your Mom/Dad.” Not all speech patterns are conducive to an interview. People who speak quickly, softly, or in monotone don’t typically deliver interesting interviews. But speech patterns can be changed with coaching. We worked with a client who had a very clipped style of speaking. On the phone, he always sounded irritated although in person it was clear that he was warm and friendly. By working on smoothing out his pronunciation of specific letter sounds and controlling his breathing to make the speech more fluid, his speaking style began to reflect his warmer personality and made him an effective speaker.
Do you have experience working with a media coach? What did you learn?