Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Live Television – You Decide Your Fate

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Live television can be a scary and unpredictable place. Personally, I love live television. Why? Because as a viewer you never know what’s going to happen. However, if you’re on the other side of the camera, live television has the potential to make you or break you. If you do well, it can do wonders for your business and image. If you don’t do well, it can ruin a reputation or image in a matter of seconds. As I’m sitting here putting this post together, one specific live television incident comes to mind (one I’m sure everyone remembers hearing about, if not actually seeing first hand).

• Taylor’s “un-acceptance’ speech. During the 2009 MTV Music Awards, Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video of the year was cut very short by Kanye West jumping on stage, grabbing the microphone and giving his opinion on who he thought the real winner should have been.

This situation has been pretty impactful – in a negative way – to West’s reputation, record label, sponsors and so on. Ok, this instance is pretty extreme but my point is that a couple of seconds can change the opinions and views of a lot of people. That is why media training is so important.

Media training is essential to any business or organization. From what not to wear to how to present yourself, media training can be the key to getting through a crisis or help you make the most of a television appearance where new products or goodwill are being promoted.

While Kanye’s outburst appeared to be spur of the moment, think about his appearance on the Jay Leno Show the next day. There is no doubt that he was coached and prepped before this live performance. Kayne was calm, sympathetic and apologetic for his actions. He was prepared and knew what he needed to say in order to restore his image and the respect he may have lost from some of his fans.

Media training can help you know how to answer the questions you really don’t want to answer, how to gain public support, how much information you should share, how long you should wait to address the public, and more. When a crisis or even a celebratory event happens, being prepared and knowing how to address the media will help make the best of any situation.

Do you have an upcoming interview or television appearance? What are some of the things you or your company does to make sure you are fully prepared? What’s your single, most important piece of advice that you would share with someone about doing an interview?

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