The BRAV model and media training

Anyone planning a career at a senior level in business must be prepared for media interest in them and their company…. Every stakeholder, customer, employee, politician and investor wants to know what the person in charge has to say and has a thousand ways of getting information on them, whether through the press, television or via the internet”. Alan Leighton, On Leadership.

Good media performances are a required skill for modern leaders. Just because someone is a great communicator one-to-one or within a company does not mean that they will be able to communicate this in front of a camera, microphone or other audience

When senior appointments are made, the job description now often includes a specific requirement to show strong communications and media handling skills. And, in a consumer society where customers can deliver their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Youtube very quickly, a media storm can brew rapidly. Structured, methodical and evidence based media training, preferably as part of a broader communications coaching programme, is a crucial part of the modern leaders’ toolkit.

Storey’s mission as a business is to research, teach and extol the value of collegiate, plural leadership in a global economy. We have developed an innovative and unique approach to media training that places a greater emphasis on research and message preparation than video and playback of questions and answers.

An approach to media training that concentrates solely on posing awkward questions is more likely to damage a student’s confidence and make them averse to the media. This is not our approach, a media opportunity should be a great way to get over the positive work that your organization does. The simulation of studio conditions is not as important as teaching a student how to answer a question that they find really difficult to answer in a positive, case study based way. We will call on journalists or academics or other specialists if we think that is the right thing to do for our students.

Our media training can be delivered as a stand-alone product for individuals, teams or groups. It is also a key part of our Institute of Leadership and Management accredited Leadership Communications course.

Underpinning our different approach to media training is the BRAV model – a ground-breaking mapping tool for communicators to develop their skills. BRAV (Behaviour, Record, Audience, Voice) is the organising principle for all of teaching. The model itself has been developed over time as a way of bringing professional standards, rigour and discipline to the way that we teach leaders to communicate.

Effective communications performance relies on the right type of research and preparation – we teach our students how to do this for themselves and provide them with tailored slide decks to fill in before their first training session. These documents help our students to think about the way that they match their commercial objectives to their communications performance.

In face to face media training sessions, conducted in a studio if needs be, we teach our students to get their case across and handle unexpected or difficult questions. We do this with our own structured question and response method – ‘Responding Positively’. This tool is a designed architecture for responding to questions of all types and is the basic tool of media handling that we encourage our students to use.

A media opportunity is a great chance to get an organisation’s message across but it is surprising how many people do not do the basic homework of preparing positive messages and case studies before the studio lights illuminate. Doing this homework in advance of any scenario based training makes sure that we can tailor the curriculum (however brief), research the right questions to ask and understand what the positive messages are to get across.