Yesterday Paul and Guy were at a client site in Loughborough – Paul on cameras and visual advice and Guy doing the content as per usual. They visited the client at their office and did two half-day sessions, bringing an eight-session engagement to a close for the moment.

Nect week they’ll be in London doing the same for another client. There’s more, though.

We can now get you into a TV studio.

You need to experience the studio

Image of a media training news studioStudio work is very different. It involves waiting in a green room, getting called in front of the camera and as per our other offerings, getting immediate feedback. If your client needs to go in front of the camera in a proper TV studio or indeed an upmarket podcast studio then frankly they’ll do better after a dry run. Rather than sit in front of a journalist or podcaster in an hostile environment without any prep they’ll benefit from starting off with an experienced trainer and camera professional who can explain what’s happening, why things are done the way they are and above all put them through their paces. It’s a safe place to mess up.

The studio to which we can have access offers a podcast/radio area and two TV studios, one for a sofa-based daytime TV environment and one for an experience more like they’d find on a news programme. We’ll offer presentations to guide your client in terms of techniques to use in interviews and give them a genuine feel about what a studio feels like.

If your client is headed for the TV studio, let us know – we’d be pleased to help. Just drop Lindsay a note and she’ll line us up with an initial chat.

One of lead trainer Guy’s favourite games when training junior PR people to pitch to journalists, if not his absolute favourite, is to pull out his phone. He never knows what he’ll find because he’s looking at emails that have come in, often since the session started.

He has a look to see who’s been targeting well and whether there are any completely irrelevant pitches, stuff that he would never have written about in around 35 years of journalism (this doesn’t mean they’re poor products or whatever, just that he’s not the right journalist and never was).

So he thought he’d try the same trick just before recording a video and see what happened…

No good media trainer is going to help you to lie which is odd because that’s what so many people think it’s about. But we won’t. It will catch you out eventually because you’ll forget who you told what and establish yourself as unreliable.

Here’s a short video on the subject.

Our lead trainer Guy was the event MC for a conference in Manchester once. It was going well until the last speaker arrived. He was high-profile and an asset to the conference, don’t get us wrong. It’s just that he had what might be called a “bit of an attitude”.

He started by giving Guy the exact wording with which he wanted to be introduced. This is actually good practice. It led into a bit of a film about what the man did and it led to a big round of applause when he entered. He then sailed in with “Well, Guy, I’ve had some great introductions – and that wasn’t one of them.” Of course everybody laughed. The event MC is always fair game and Guy didn’t mind being set up.

Six minutes before the speaker was supposed to finish, Guy gave a signal. This was intended helpfully. Unfortunately this was the point at which the speaker decided war had been declared.

The event MC needs to understand timing

“Hey everybody,” the speaker said. “Guy’s trying to shut me up – Guy, are you fed up with me?” Guy was too professional to confess that yes, within the last few seconds that would pretty much have summed up his view. Frankly it didn’t matter whether the speaker was any good or not at that stage. What mattered was:

  • Overrunning might have incurred extra costs from cleaning staff, AV staff, janitorial staff
  • Delegates had travelled from quite some way and might have trains or indeed planes to catch
  • …or they might have made plans to discuss business over dinner or just unwind with colleagues after the conference and those arrangements needed to be respected
  • Actually they might have decided they were going home to their living rooms where they were going to recite the National Anthem backwards or whatever they wanted to do – it was their time and nothing to do with Guy or the speaker.

There was nothing to be done about the cleaning staff or AV staff – Guy simply announced that if delegates needed to get to the station or the airport they should feel free to do so without offending the organisers and speakers. This seemed a fair compromise and after the organisers had been thanked, about 25% of the audience got up and left and the speaker continued.

The point is that if you’re a speaker it’s incumbent upon you to respect the schedule that’s been set. It might not seem important to you if you overrun by 15 or 20 minutes as long as the audience seems happy but they might not stay happy for long.

Here’s a two-minute video about what happened once when Guy was speaking and the inexperienced MC went rogue – and lunch was ready.