Do you feel confident and ready to be interviewed on TV or organise a press conference?
You would be if you took part in the recent ‘Communicating with Impact’ Training delivered to over 100 participants of The Next Chapter Project. The Next Chapter Project is funded by the SEUPB under the PEACE IV Programme to build positive relations between women from different communities and backgrounds in NI and border counties in the ROI to support the transition out of conflict and address the gender inequality in community, public and political life.
This intensive Media Skills and Crisis Communications training gave women from across the region, from Donegal to Newry, hands on experience of how to handle the media, influence the direction of an interview and deal with sensitive issues. From simulated radio and TV interviews exercises to sharing tips and advice on the best strategies to deploy when being questioned, this Media Skills training allowed trainers to focus on individual needs, enabling the participant to give clear, effective and confident interviews.
The aim of the second part of the training was for participants to learn that good communications in a crisis-situation does not happen by accident but by good planning. A crisis-situation can arise when for example you have been tweeting after a few too many vinos or the organisation you are involved in has received on online complaint that is being retweeted. Participants learnt skills to help them protect reputations and minimise potential damage by focussing on key message development and strategies for handling difficult questions.
In the selection of photos taken from training sessions with participants from Co Donegal, Mid Ulster, Newtownabbey and Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh Chapter below, you see examples of how each participant experiences one-to-one radio and TV interviews, followed by a group exercise in How Did You Think it Went?
Photo: Next Chapter participants in Louth delivering a Holding Statement to camera
Photo: Louth participants taking the roles of CEO, Communications Officer and HR Officer at the Crisis Comms ‘Press Conference’
Photo: Louth participants watching it back on TV to learn from the experience
Photo: Simulated Press Conference with Next Chapter participants in Newry
Here is a selection of the feedback we received from across the region, together with photos of participants involved in the training programme.
|“I personally found the training module 4 is very enjoyable and powerful. Dealing with media and presentation skills are so useful and practical skills, I would encourage all the females to take part in the training and I couldn’t highly recommend anymore. The hands-on practice of speaking in public was a bit scary at the beginning, but with the help and encouragement from the personal coach, I engaged in all the activities and enjoyed all the exercises.
Due to language and cultural backgrounds, I have always been quiet, though the training and experience sharing, I got to know more ladies from other ethnical communities and we understand each other better; also the training provided me opportunities to expand my network, that was how I was invited to Cavan Chapter as a guest speaker to their Mind the Brexit Gap event. The practical training not only empowered me but also transformed me from a quiet learner to a brave woman who is able to speak out my opinion in public.
The email to the coach Nichola spoke for my changes over the training: Only with your support and encouragement, I was brave enough to accept an invitation of being a guest speaker for a public event on a day which I had a good excuse of being absent…I felt good afterward, and I know deeply that I wouldn't agree to be a guest speaker and I couldn't speak in that environment without your help. I am looking forward to the next training session”
Ping – Next Chapter participant, Louth Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Louth
|“Really thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much.”
Sharon – Next Chapter participant, Foyle Chapter
Photo: Module Four Crisis Communications training with participants from Foyle and Co Donegal Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Newtownabbey
|“I have got more confidence at speaking out.”
Arlene – Next Chapter participant, Newtownabbey Chapter
|“Training by Channel56 was absolutely amazing.... I did not know how much I would enjoy being interviewed. The before & after the training shoots were miles apart & with the tips & lessons taught so patiently & professionally by the Channel56 team I couldn't believe how much more relaxed & confident I was being interviewed & especially surprised with this outcome being filmed. Thank u to all involved in all the training we received - The Next Chapter, Irish Rural Link, Politics Plus, SEUPB Peace IV and trainers DemocraShe and Channel56.”
Mary – Next Chapter participant, Cavan Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Cavan
|“As a Broadcast Communications graduate who have worked in TV, Radio, and print media, I thought I knew everything. But after completing Module 4, I have to say that I have learned so many new things I never knew before. Now I know that there is a smart way of delivering key messages within a limited time, and that preparation is key in any public presentation, interview and crisis situation. I am now armed with the skills and knowledge needed because Module 4 ‘Communicating with Impact’ has empowered me to be a more effective and confident communicator.”
Vanda – Next Chapter participant, Cavan Chapter
|“I found the module on Communication and dealing with the media to be most enjoyable and informative. I was challenged, and I learned a lot, particularly during the practical exercises. However, a 'hand book', in relation to preparing press releases both for promotion and in answer to more challenging issues, such as answering allegations about your organisation, would be a useful resource. We covered the more 'in your face' one to one interviews, holding statements and press conferences, and that was eye opening.
The module was chock full of good learning and experiences, and I can honestly say I feel more confident and better prepared to do interviews, both on Radio and TV, and to take part in pod-casts now, than I did before I took module 4. I am even seriously considering starting my own pod-cast and/or You-Tube channel. Watch this space!”
Maria – Next Chapter participant, Cavan Chapter
|“I liked the informal relaxed pace of the training. I didn’t like having to do the radio and TV interviews, but the relief afterwards was fab! Thank you I will leave today with more confidence in my ability.”
Next Chapter participant, Newry Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Newry
|"Module 4 was very enjoyable. Learning about how to communicate with the media was enlightening & would prove vital for anyone who finds themselves in public life. The benefits & pitfalls associated with engaging with the media were addressed. Interview tips and techniques were excellent & the opportunity to simulate press conferences was very educational"
Mary – Next Chapter participant, Monaghan Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Monaghan and Cavan worked together on Day Two of Module Four - Crisis Communications training which also allowed for further networking between the two Chapters.
|“Vital support for building confidence when considering moving into a public role.”
Heather – Next Chapter participant, Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh Chapter
Photo: Next Chapter participants from Belfast, Lisburn and Castlereagh
|“Role play was, in equal parts, terrifying and really useful and fun. The exercises were challenging in a meaningful way.”
Patricia – Next Chapter participant, Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh Chapter
|"This was perfect for the subject and was not drawn out too much. It was interactive and informative. I have learned so much from this and would cope much better if I was to have to deal with a crisis communications. Thanks for taking me out of my comfort zones, I have taken a lot from all the sessions.”
Next Chapter participant, Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh
|“Trainers made what could have been v daunting actually bearable and fun! I liked the feedback – practical tips and insight. Enjoyed it more than I expected.”
Mary – Next Chapter participant, Mid Ulster Chapter
Photo: Module Four training with Next Chapter participants from Enniskillen
Thanks to all participants for sharing their comments and feedback.
The Next Chapter project is funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for The Next Chapter project is provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.