Recently, the Vested UK team was put through a number of challenging but necessary tests: a series of mock interviews designed to imitate the experiences our clients go through when interacting with the media.
It seems only right that we, the people encouraging professionals to engage with media, whether it be a podcast, a print article interview or a live on TV appearance, experience it ourselves and understand the preparation, skill and confidence that it takes.
It is, for many, an unsettling experience. It is not everyday that you are thrust into a room, sat in a chair in front of a large green screen depicting a city skyline with multiple cameras pointed at you and a microphone attached to your chest. It is a nerve racking undertaking to say the least.
As the lights dimmed, the interviews began; an ex-ITV News presenter commenced the interrogation…
“What is your stance on the debate surrounding regulation in crypto? Should companies operating in the space be subject to a regulatory environment similar to companies operating in the traditional financial system?”
Over the next five minutes, the questions came thick and fast, each more challenging than the last. The aim of this is to catch you off guard, to make you consider the interests of the client you are speaking on behalf of.
It is a tricky balance you must strike: to speak fluently and respond to the question in a way that doesn’t compromise the messaging of the company whilst offering listeners, viewers or readers newsworthy and interesting sound bites. All of this while your colleagues watch you live in the other room!
This is an essential part of the process. You need to feel as though what you say has an impact and to feel the real pressure of speaking to a live audience. By doing this, we got a real sense of what clients go through both in the training but also real life, where there are fewer reprieves or opportunities to have another go.
As communications consultants, being able to empathise with client experience is extremely important. It allows us to give considered and informed advice. It is our duty to prepare our clients for media appearances in the best way possible and this includes understanding ourselves how it really feels to be in the spotlight.