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A Good Answer To “Can You Guarantee This Won’t Happen Again?”

After a crisis or negative incident, many reporters ask a variation of this question: “Can you guarantee this will never happen again?”

The problem with that question is that life offers no guarantees—and no matter what procedures you put into place, there’s usually a chance the negative incident could re-occur. And yet, saying that in an interview can be used against you.

In this post, you’ll see the founder of Chipotle doing a nice job of answering this question — and one place he could have done even better.

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What Is Media Training?

I recently spotted a tweet that asked an intriguing question: “What’s something that seems obvious within your profession, but the general public seems to misunderstand?”

That question was catnip for me, so I sent a response. It ended up getting several retweets and likes, which told me that I wasn’t the only person interested in the definition of media training.

Here’s what I came up with. Now I want to hear from you.

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In a Flash: Invasive Photos And Celebrity Humiliation

Several young women in the public eye—singers, socialites and actresses—have been the victims of an unscrupulous paparazzo who snapped a revealing photo of them stepping out of a car and sold it.

That’s why I was impressed when I learned that at least one media training firm had anticipated that threat and provided their clients with specific tips for how to exit a car.

Madelaine Petsch, the 23-year-old star of the CW television show Riverdale, explained how her media trainer taught her co-stars how to avoid the consequences of an unscrupulous paparazzo.

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The Promise Media Trainers Shouldn’t Make

“Control,” as it’s commonly understood and defined by Merriam-Webster, means “to have power over.”

That why it strikes me as odd when I see marketing materials from media trainers promising to teach clients how to “control” media interviews. Are they really promising to teach spokespersons how to have “power over” the person who will be making the final editing decisions?

Promising to give clients power over reporters is unrealistic. But first, I have a confession to make.

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Why You Should Avoid “Call And Response” Media Interviews

You’ve surely heard the “call and response” format before. It can be found in jazz and classical and folk music; in churches and synagogues and secular gatherings; and everywhere from West Africa to Cuba to England.

There’s a reason why stage performers have used it for so long. Call and response is easy to follow, holds attention, and often produces a beautiful sound.

But it shouldn’t be found anywhere near your media interviews.

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20 Reasons You Should Not Get Media Training

If you do a web search, you’ll come across many articles telling you why you should get media training. But I’ve never seen a post telling people why they shouldn’t.

In this post, I’ll fill a much-needed gap by offering 20 reasons why you, your clients, or your colleagues should definitely not pursue media training. As examples:

9. You love hearing yourself talk at length, even if your audiences do not.

12. You’re secretly hoping to earn the nickname “loose cannon.”

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Is It Time For Media Trainers To Start Sweating?

I recently came across a new book called Leadership In Focus: Bringing Out Your Best On Camera by filmmaker Vern Oakley.

In it, he writes that media training “can suck all the authenticity out of you and leave nothing but a corporate talking head.” He goes on from there, accusing media trainers of teaching people how to “squirm” and “dodge.”

In this post, I’ll explain why his views of my profession are wrong — or at least vastly overstated.

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The Media Question You Should Always Answer

At the end of many media interviews, reporters ask this final question: “Is there anything you’d like to add?”

They ask that question not only as a courtesy, but to make sure they haven’t forgotten to ask something that would improve their understanding of your topic. Unfortunately, many stressed interviewees decline to add anything and miss the opportunity to take advantage of that final “gimme” question.

In this post, you’ll find four great ways to answer it.

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