Prior to Donald Trump’s much anticipated/dreaded arrival in the UK I’ve been pondering how the phrase “Fake News” has entered our everyday vocabulary over the past few years particularly since the emergence of El Trump into the global political arena.

As a crisis comms consultant I’ve tended to use the phrase Mock News when conducting our media training workshops but essentially it’s the same concept, except that our fake news is for internal purposes only and has become an essential tool when improving the comms strategies and skills of organisations.

We come up with a real-life crisis scenario relevant to your company and then via a series of graduated exercises get the trainees to manage their media comms via a series of fake/mock interviews designed to test the resilience and communication skills of all participants.

There’s also bit of theory but not much.

The workshops are about improving practice and enhancing your brand – not helping you prepare for a PhD.

Role reversals

By far the best model in my experience is when CEOs or senior managers agree to take a minor role in the exercise and leave the key decisions to the less experienced personnel. You find SO much more about how a company works when the roles are reversed and people are asked to perform outside of their comfort zone ; and this can only be done within the protected environment of a training day which is geared as closely towards a real-life scenario as possible.

What can be so rewarding is when a company discovers the hidden communications talent of an individual who has hitherto been untested.

The participants get so much MORE than the actual communication skills being coached particularly if the organisation embraces the the role changes.

Back to school

A few years ago I was coaching the senior staff of a high profile secondary school which was about to suffer from a significant blow to its reputation with the publication of an extremely negative Ofsted report -this at a time when it had already been prominently featured in the press about another negative story.

It quickly emerged during the media training workshops (which naturally centred on the impending report as well as some very challenging FAKE NEWS scenarios) that a senior member of the team was a highly capable communicator and came over on the tv and radio much better than the headmaster himself who eventually made the decision to share the media responsibilities with her taking the lead wherever possible.

A brave decision from the boss but one that certainly bore fruit when the media came knocking.

It also helped to improve the effectiveness of the senior leadership team performance and send the message to staff that their leader was someone who acknowledged the skills of his team and was prepared to ‘ take a bullet’ on behalf of the team if it meant the school’s reputation survived the crisis – which I’m delighted to say it did.

Would you or your CEO/leader do the same?

Maybe one of our Media Training Workshops is the right environment to discover whether he or she would do the same and discover a hidden talent on your team with whom to share media spotlight if the going gets tough? All our workshops are bespoke and we only use trainers with a recognised pedigree who have recently worked in or continue to work in the media in 2018.

We’re a phone call or an email away – it would be great to hear from you.