When the boot's on the other foot... Why all PRs need to practise being in front of the media
By Xanthe Vaughan Williams
Working in PR, we are used to talking to clients about how to behave with journalists. We provide media training and make sure that interviewees are armed with key points and anecdotes. But in truth it’s not that often that we have to experience it ourselves.
I was reminded how difficult it is to have to answer questions sensibly when I had to sit in front of a camera last week. This wasn’t even for a media outlet – just for an innocuous case study, but all the video training I’d witnessed over the years emptied itself from my head as I waved my hands about, shifted position and got my microphone all tangled up.
Happily I have not yet seen the end result, but for me it flagged up how important it is for us to be able to advise our clients from first hand experience.
The reality of being deliberately misquoted by a tabloid only really sank in the first time it happened to me (on a trivial matter, thankfully.) And forgetting the names of all my clients while live on air to a radio station really drove home the importance of writing down a few key facts. Like my own name.
Along with too many other PR agencies, we often fall into the trap of neglecting our own PR and have resolved to do more of it. It’s also worth remembering that it’s not just a case of keeping our own corporate profile in the public eye – it’s about making sure that we are in a position to speak from experience, and practice what we preach.
Xanthe is a co-founder and director of Fourth Day PR