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Do you want to improve your organization’s media interview and public speaking talents? Try conducting simulations that allow spokespeople to practice what and how they communicate, using the following suggestions:
- Set firm learning objectives. For example, is this session for new learners who need more guidance or for experienced pros who need a refresher? Perhaps your executives need to prepare for hostile fire from reporters?
- Tell any observers what you expect from them. Do you want them to come up with a headline after a practice media interview? Ask questions as audience members? Offer feedback based on performance?
- Anticipate real world questions that might arise when dealing with reporters, members of Congress, and other audiences (special hint: Don’t shy away from hardball interrogations).
- Familiarize yourself with the reporters or policymakers your organization will face, and assign members of your team to assume their personalities.
- Give adequate instructions for each exercise. Make sure learners get enough to understand and execute the exercise, but don’t overwhelm and confuse them.
- Rehearse one skill at a time to avoid overload. Use separate exercises whenever possible to practice such issues as message delivery, Q&A techniques, and nonverbal tools.
- Always assess feedback immediately after each drill.
- Solicit feedback from participants first. Have them focus on their strengths initially, then their challenges.
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