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[MUSIC PLAYING][Communication Training & Development]
MIKE RAMSDEN: Hello.I'm Mike Ramsden. [Mike Ramsden, Senior Consultant and Headof Broadcasting, Political Lobbying and Media Relations(PLMR)] And I'm a senior consultant and the headof broadcast at an organization called PLMR.That stands for Political Lobbying and Media Relations.And we call it that because we'revery open about what we do.So the political lobbying elementof a campaign for an organization that we might work
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: for, that means trying to contact MPs,contact other political stakeholders, civil servants.Because these people are very, very busy,and it can be difficult to get your message across to them.At the same time, the natural other side of thatis media relations, which is about gettingyour message across for a campaign in the media.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: So those two things tend to work together.And what we like to say is that we are campaigning agency,if you like.We'll have clients come to us and say, we reallywant to either change a law, or reduce a tax,or improve something for the people we work with.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: Can you help?When PLMR helps an organization with a campaign,that involves speaking to the media.And that's where I come in really.For most of my career, for 18 years,in fact, I worked for the BBC.I was a journalist.It was as simple as that.I worked in radio.I worked in television, and always in news.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: And I worked out the other day that I'ddone something like 4,000 interviewsover that time on air.And what that gives you is a real sense of whatnews editors want, the things theyneed to find for an interview, the thingsyou're trying to get, and indeed,the questions the interviewers are likely to ask.So what I do is I help clients.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: They can be senior executives.They can be communications people.They can be the people who are doing a job in education,in energy, in the environment.And I help them prepare for an interview for a big mediaengagement.If you have a campaign, you often have a campaign launch.So what we'll do is we'll take some time out,about three hours, and work with them to get ready for that.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: I mean, I think the reason people find it usefulis because when you've got the world's media looking at you,it can be quite daunting.You've got cameras, lights, microphones, the whole lot.So to give people a chance to practicein a safe but realistic environment is really good.We get a lot of positive feedback about that.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: So there are three elements to getting ready,and the big one is preparation.We work with them to develop their key messages,the things they want to say, the important thingsthey need to be able to get their message across and cutthrough the noise of the media, if you like, to actually makethose messages land.To actually pique the interest of editors
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: and make them newsworthy rather than justbeing worthy sometimes.Then we'll give them some techniques.
TIM KNIGHT: Hi, Mike.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Hello, Tim.
TIM KNIGHT: Great to meet you, Mike.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Welcome to PLMR.
TIM KNIGHT: Thank you very much.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Come on in.We'll go into the boardroom here.
TIM KNIGHT: Fantastic.
MIKE RAMSDEN: So you got the key messages I sent the other day?
TIM KNIGHT: I did.
MIKE RAMSDEN: We need those to prepare for an interview.What did you think of them?
TIM KNIGHT: Yeah, really useful.As you know, we're about to open the new education centerswith the charity across London.So any tips that you've got about howwe can sort of be as impactful as possiblewill be really useful.I've got some interviews set up as part of our launch so.
MIKE RAMSDEN: OK.Well, we can really help you with that.We're going to give you lots of experiencetoday, lots of chances to practice, and for youto get really comfortable in front of the cameraand be able to deliver your messages so they really cutthrough and really land home.We'll give you some techniques as wellto avoid difficult questions or to get around them.And you've got your key messages prepared.Let's go and try them out.
TIM KNIGHT: Brilliant.
MIKE RAMSDEN: It's better to train here and make mistakeshere in a controlled, safe, and private environmentthan do it on television or live on radiobecause there is really a big reputational risk whenyou engage with the media.If you're going on a big national broadcastand they ask you questions you're not ready for,
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: and you start making policy up on the hoof and start sayingthings that you shouldn't really be saying that you can'tback up, it will go wrong.There's no need for that to happenif you're prepared properly.So there is a reputational risk when you engage with the media,and what we're trying to do is to minimize or avoid that.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: I sometimes say that doing media trainingis actually a part of risk management for an organization.And that tends to start making people thinkin financial terms, which is usually quite positive for uswhen we're trying to say, this is somethingyou really need to do.So this is our studio, which gives you a realistic feel
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: for what it's like.When you've got the lights and the microphonesand the camera on you, it can be a really pressurized situation.
TIM KNIGHT: It's quite daunting.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Have you done anything like this before?
TIM KNIGHT: I haven't.Very much looking forward it, though.
MIKE RAMSDEN: OK.Really?Not nervous?
TIM KNIGHT: It's slightly daunting, slightly daunting.But should be a fun day.
MIKE RAMSDEN: OK.Well, we'll get cracking.Firstly, just tell me your name, please, and what you do.
TIM KNIGHT: My name's Tim Knight,and I'm the chief executive of an education charity calledAspire.
MIKE RAMSDEN: So tell me about Aspire.What is it you're actually aiming to do?
TIM KNIGHT: It's very simple.We work in some of London's more disadvantaged areas,and we put on after-school clubs for the children there.
MIKE RAMSDEN: What benefit are people really gettingfrom after-school clubs?Because essentially, it's just play time, isn't it?I do ask them difficult questions,and that's part of training, really.It's better that you have difficultyanswering those questions in a nice, safe, controlledenvironment here rather than doing it
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: live on television or on radio.Isn't this something the governmentshould really be doing?I mean, you could be quite critical of them, I think.
TIM KNIGHT: Well, we receive fundingfrom national government, which we'revery grateful for because it enables us to dothis really important work.
MIKE RAMSDEN: But they're not doing enough, are they?
TIM KNIGHT: That's a very, very--
MIKE RAMSDEN: Well, yes or no?Are they doing enough?In a TV report, you only have a clip of 12 seconds.You've got 12 seconds to get your major point across.And that can be difficult to do if you haven't reallythought about it.The thought could be there, but youhaven't worked out how to say it succinctlyand in a format that's acceptable to a broadcaster.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: So we can help people with that.And that really helps to help their messages cut through.What do you say to head teachers at the moment whosay this is ridiculous and a massive drainon their resources?We'll talk through key messages and actuallyformulate the right words with them.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: We'll help them embed those messages in their mindso they become almost parts of breathing, walking,all those kind of things.I like to say, put it in your hindbrain.Practice it in the shower.Practice it in the car.Practice speaking these words out loud.So you're running an educational charity.How much are you getting paid?
TIM KNIGHT: Look, that's not somethingthat I would like to discuss today.What I'm more--
MIKE RAMSDEN: Well, I think it's quite relevantbecause the money that you're being paidcould be going towards helping children and head teachers whoare extremely pressurized at the momentand have very intense pressure on funding.
TIM KNIGHT: We're there to help schools,to benefit the work that they're doingand to answer that to be a bit of addedvalue at the end of the school day, where children can comeand learn about-- or can come and do their coursework in a supporting environment with qualified membersof staff.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Having done it many times now,I realize there's often a point where there's a click.And it's something-- either it's about a technical thingor about a content thing.But what I tend to find is that whether it'sa chief executive or it's somebody who'sat the bottom end of a communications department,they'll suddenly have a click where they suddenly
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: realize what it is they're trying to do.And they suddenly realize how to get around it,how to make it work, and how to deliverthat message to the media.And that's really rewarding for me when I see that.It's also very rewarding for me whenI see people do well in the mediaand when we see our messages land home in the media.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: OK, Tim.Thank you very much for speaking to us today.
TIM KNIGHT: Thanks.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Wow.So my nasty interview hat is now off.Let's go and review this in the boardroom.OK.
TIM KNIGHT: OK, thank you.And then instantly we'll play it back,and we'll review it with them.So we'll go through line by line to see where they can improve.[INAUDIBLE]OK.Well, we're just going to have a look nowat your performance on screen.So we'll take a quick look.Bear with me.Here we go.Here's the movie.It's coming now.
TIM KNIGHT [continued]: Huh.
MIKE RAMSDEN: A lot of people cringe.A lot of people just think, I don't wantto see myself on television.But it's a part of their job.So we make it easier for them, and weget them acclimatized, if you will,to seeing themselves on TV.So if we just pause it there.That's why it's really important to learn those key messagesso they're absolutely ready to go.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: I often use the idea of a Grand Prix start.There's no warm-up lap.And in that first answer, you needto try to get your key messages across--
TIM KNIGHT: Yeah.
MIKE RAMSDEN: --as much as you can.And if you've prepared those, if you've learned those,and you've been saying them in the car,you've been saying them in the shower,you've been saying them on your way walking downthe street-- might get a few odd looks,but at least you're absolutely ready with those,and they feel natural to say.
TIM KNIGHT: I think that's a common misconception.What we try to do at Aspire is to have a lot more structure.So we have qualified teachers who come in to the schoolsafter the school day is over.So that's really good.You've got one of those important messages out.We've got qualified teachers.
TIM KNIGHT: Right, yeah.It's somewhere to really help themto [INAUDIBLE] during the school day.
MIKE RAMSDEN: But what you've got there is real authenticity,and that's very hard to get across sometimes.So you're not moving too much.Your eye line is correct.You're not looking into the camera.But that all adds up to a sense of authenticity,that you're passionate about the subjectthat you're talking about.And that's really important to make those messages land.
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: You're delivering them in a really good way.
TIM KNIGHT: So body language is quite important then?
MIKE RAMSDEN: Yeah.I mean, actually, if you think about the screen,it's emphasizing even the very smallest actions,because it's only taking sort of that much.OK.So you've had some practice.You've learned some techniques.How do you feel about next week?
TIM KNIGHT: It's good.That was really helpful actually.Some of those points, actually, that it'snothing to be afraid of, and it should be moreof a presentation rather than sort of knee-jerk reactionsto whatever the questions that they asked.So hopefully, I mean, obviously it's slightly differentwhen doing it for real.But that was about as close to realas we can get before going in front of the journalist.
TIM KNIGHT [continued]: So--
MIKE RAMSDEN: Great.Let's go.
TIM KNIGHT: I'm very grateful for that.Thanks, Mike.
MIKE RAMSDEN: Pleasure.When things work, when you change things for the better,that's extremely rewarding.And I work very closely with some incredibly talentedpeople.These are people who are fierce, intellectual, superb minds,
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: incredibly experienced, incredibly knowledgeableabout the political sphere in Britainand in Europe and across the world.You know, we have international clientswho employee us for our expertise and our experiencein contacting and in engaging with politicians
MIKE RAMSDEN [continued]: around the world.That's just interesting.And to be able to be a part of thatand soak up some of their knowledgeis terrifically interesting for me.[MUSIC PLAYING]
Communication, Training, and Development
View Segments Segment :
Unique ID: bd-meco-inpr-ctd-AA00835
Mike Ramsden discusses his work coaching clients to communicate effectively with the news media.
Mike Ramsden discusses his work coaching clients to communicate effectively with the news media.