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National Expert Provides Media Training Tips

By Jasmine Smith, PRSA-NCC Intern
October 9, 2013
IPRA’s October Lunch Program Supports Media Relations

IPRA’s October lunch program, “Media Training for Media Trainers,” provided participants a wealth of tips from expert media trainer Chryssa Zizos, president of Live Wire Media Relations. Zizos, who has coached U.S. presidents as well as corporate CEOs, offered an opportunity for the PR pros in the room to place themselves in the hot seat, complete with rapid-fire questions and bright studio lights.

Zizos began by describing the techniques she uses with her clients. For starters, she says investing in lights and a camera gives the real-life feel of the studio.  She also hires journalists to come in and role-play with her clients. The reporters pepper the subject with questions and prvide an evaluation. Zizos repeats clients’ quotes to them out of context to show how their words can be manipulated, and she teaches them to speak in short, complete sound bites to get their points across.

The presentation included the following tips:

  1. Remember three things: Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you doing it? “If you don’t know this, what makes you think we as PR people and your audience will know?” said Zizos.
  2. Use stories and stats. “In every sentence, you should include a story or a stat,” said Zizos.
  3. Be First, Unique, Best and Only (FUBO). Keep this in mind, Are you the first? What makes you unique? How are you the best and only?
  4. Keep up with trends. “Today’s journalists are writing headlines based on Google analytics and what’s trending,” added Zizos. As PR professionals, we need to know what’s trending at the time of the interview.
  5. Due diligence is crucial. Brief your client with background information such as the interviewer’s bio, the last three stories witten, beat, and angle.
  6. Start small. If the client is new to on-camera interviews, start them on a local channel.
  7. Be yourself. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. In order to have a successful interview, be yourself. If you’re wonky, be wonky; if you’re funny, be funny.

In a demonstration of how she works with her clients in their one-on-one media training, Zizos conducted several mock interviews with audience members.  Her relentless questioning forced interviewees to fine-tune their remarks and make their points strongly and succinctly.

In closing, Zizos left the group with one final thought:  “Your message should be able to reach anyone from anywhere; keep it simple.”

Jasmine Smith is the PRSA-NCC Fall Intern. She is a senior studying communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Electronic Journalism at George Mason University.