Media Training with the NPA

28 Mar 2018

Recently myself and a handful of other NPA members underwent some professional media training, with the agreement that we would speak to the media, both national and local, in the future. It’s part of the NPA’s plans to recruit and support a network of pharmacists who can advocate for the sector. The training was provided by the NPA in a professional broadcast studio.

The day was a complete success. Speaking to the media in a professional capacity with the intention of getting across a relevant point is an art form. It requires technical knowledge, discipline and determined concentration all while giving off the impression of merely having a relaxed casual chat. The training we received was hugely challenging and informative and hopefully a good first step down the road to mastering the art form of talking to the media effectively.

So, what did we learn?

  1. Before you speak to the media, make sure you have a clear message that you want to get across.
  1. Illustrate your message with vivid human anecdotes.
  1. Stick to your message, try not to get drawn into other more divisive discussions such as politics.

And all of this needs to be put across in a calm, measured, warm and likeable way. Do this and you will be a master of media communications.

Once you know what your objective is, the next step is to practice, practice, practice. Thus, for the rest of the day we had three opportunities to put our learning into practice. First, we had a mock newspaper interview, then a mock radio interview and finally a mock TV interview. The radio and TV interviews were in properly kitted out studios. We got to play back our efforts and get feedback.

The great thing about the day was the fact that our coaches went hard on us. They made sure it was difficult for us and they tried to play us just like real life broadcasters and journalists would and will. I have no problem admitting that my first attempt (the newspaper interview) was a PR disaster and my second attempt (the radio interview) was only a marginal improvement.

My third attempt (the TV interview) was a respectable effort. The key going forward is to get as much practice as possible and accept it’s a learning process and it will take time to get good at but I am up for the challenge.

The whole day was a great experience and a good foundation for all present to now go out and engage with the media and sell the good work pharmacists do and try boost our public image.

Members who are interesting in becoming media advocates should contact

Author: Peter Kelly