A new way to think about talking to the media

One of the elements that made the most impact during the two days of CMR Media Consulting media training I recently led for a dozen senior executives of Stanbic Bank was a new way to think about talking to the media.
Often talking to a journalist can be intimidating, or at least it can make you feel nervous. It’s not something that we do everyday, and there are too many horror stories around of where an interaction with a reporter goes wrong.
But what about instead of thinking that you are talking to a journalist, you approach the interview instead thinking that you are talking to your customers, through the journalist. After all, the reporter’s audience or readers might very well already be your customers, or they could be people you want to become your customers. Suddenly you’re on much steadier ground, because talking to customers is something that you do everyday, and your messages to them are solid, and compelling.
We ask in our training, Why Talk To The Media? There are dozens of reasons – not least of which: if you don’t, your competitors will – but if you scratch out the word ‘media’ in that question and replace it with ‘customers’, then the question becomes a no-brainer. Of course you want to talk to your customers, and if you can do so via free and apparently objective platforms, then all the better.
The Stanbic Bank managers and directors who attended CMR’s most recent training, including its Financial Controller and Treasurer, all found that when they went into their practicals after grasping this ‘talk through the reporter to your customers’ concept, they were much more relaxed, and their messaging was much clearer and more compelling.

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