Just talk, that’s what most people can do. But the ability to talk to media representatives, to place your core messages correctly, to steer a conversation in a desired direction or to speak on stage, in front of the camera or on the radio is a discipline of its own. Everyone who wants to appear in such situations with self-confidence, calmness and sovereignty, cannot avoid a professional media training. Together with our partner Stefan Kreutzer, we have been training our customers in dealing with the media for many years and show them the nuances in discussions with representatives of the press. In our interview with Stefan you will learn more about media training, our cooperation and what you should definitely pay attention to.
Before we enter the questionnaire – which three words do you spontaneously associate with HBI?
Professional, reliable, congestion (when there is a trade fair at the same time).
How long have you been working with HBI?
Since 2002 – Something i am proud of!
Have you had a special memory of an assignment from the last few years? If so, why?
We had a media training with a CEO, who came 45 minutes late and then showed little interest in the training. Quote: “Why should I now leave my desk alone for 7 hours? I can talk!” After the first practical exercise, a critical interview, he said with a smile: “Ok, maybe the desk has to wait. Let’s get on with it!” Simply talking and conducting an interview are two different disciplines. It turned out to be a very constructive day.
How did you come to train others in dealing with the media? As we know, you are also active as a radio host, does that have anything to do with it?
Yes, absolutely! In practice I experience almost every day what difference it makes whether my conversation partner is prepared or not. Unfortunately, many still underestimate what they are able to get out of a good interview for themselves and their company. I also completed my studies with a diploma thesis on media training concepts. Giving trainings was then somehow a logical consequence.
When you give media trainings, what do you watch out for – and what don’t you watch out for? What is especially important?
First of all, the most important thing is that all participants feel comfortable. If they recognize the seminar not as an ongoing perpetual examination situation, but simply as a training in being confident in conversations, that is half the battle. During training I make sure that the participants remain authentic despite all rhetorical tips, that their body language matches the content, and that concrete examples instead of phrases are used. The interview should be a lively exchange of information and stories – not just reduced to a simple question and answer ping-pong.
Can you tell us the three most important things to remember when talking to a media representative?
- First think what messages you want to convey.
- Articulate yourself understandably and think about your target group
- Everything you say should be true. BUT: not everything that is true must be said.
As we know, you often give presentations on stage yourself. Has anything embarrassing ever happened to you? And what tips do you have for presentations or situations where you might feel uncomfortable?
Right before a presentation I got into a terrible downpour. I was wet to the bone. I couldn’t possibly cancel the presentation. Therefore, there was only one possible reaction: Flight forward. The topic was “sharing” – everything is shared today, music, cars, bicycles. Then I started the presentation with the comment: “Please excuse my appearance – but I wanted to find out if people also share their umbrellas in an emergency. As you can see, they don’t!”. The audience laughed and my wet look was out of the room. From then on, we could all focus on the presentation. An unforeseen situation only becomes embarrassing if you deal with it poorly. To take the bull by the horns relieves pressure of having to hide something and in most cases makes you human and likeable.
Has anything changed in your work as a media trainer in recent years? If so, what?
The willingness of companies to prepare themselves professionally for a media presence has risen sharply in the last few years. The world has become more visual. Today everyone owns a smartphone and interviews from print media are often filmed as content for their homepage. More and more companies rely on video messages instead of letters to their employees for internal communication. Video can simply convey emotions and credibility more strongly than a written text. However, it can also backfire if this appearance is not conveyed skillfully. And here we are again with our media training.
Many people start a job without any previous knowledge of the subject. Then they realize that they are very interested in another area. How was it with you? Did you turn your hobby into your profession or did your profession become your hobby?
Honestly, I wanted to be a doctor originally. When I was 15, I noticed that I could not see any blood and when I was 19 I noticed that the grades were too bad! It was rather a coincidence that brought me to radio and finally to journalism studies. My girlfriend at the time, who had worked for the radio, made me so curious about the medium to try it out. It became love at first sight! At least the relationship with radio lasted…
Finally, is there anything you’ve always wanted to say to HBI?
Simply THANK YOU!