I've been in the media business now for over 15 years and before that I was in public relations, I still am! And it never ceases to amaze me, even now in the 21st century; with so much more media around, that people and organizations still don't value the need to train their people to talk and communicate properly with the media.
That said of course, there are plenty of horror stories of even the 'supposedly' media trained crashing and burning before our very eyes either on LIVE television or radio or on social media.
Who can forget former New York Democrat Representative, Anthony Weiner and his ' my Twitter account was hacked' scandal, about lewd photos sent to a woman that he denied was him and then ultimately and publicly confessed to.
We train for so many things in our lives and our jobs, so why is media not taken seriously when it can do the biggest damage to personal reputations and companies brands and public image.
The answer? Media coaching is seen as a 'non' qualification. It's not like passing your law degree or getting the latest financial services accreditation, no, it's just seen as standing in front of a camera, radio microphone or reporter and saying a few well chosen words. And that's the BIGGEST mistake of all.
You wouldn't do a parachute jump without said parachute, the results would be fatal and so is thinking you can speak to the media without knowing their agenda, who they've already spoken to on a story and in this digital era we live in, exactly how far your story will go around the globe.
If your company asks you to be a spokesperson then make sure you get some media training, because while the story may be good now, when the inevitable 'hits the fan' you need to be prepared and in the case of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster, choose you words carefully after you've just decimated thousands of peoples livlihoods and created one of the largest modern day environmental disasters, as then BP CEO Tony Hayward said, ' I'd like my life back ' on camera for the entire world to see and shortly after he got exactly that, when he was forced to step down from his job after making such a grass and insensitve statement. You have been warned!