Media Training Tips: Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

Erik Bernstein media training Leave a Comment

Empathy is key to reaching your target audience

Have you ever tried to resolve an argument with a loved one without acknowledging their feelings first? Have you ever started apologizing, only to be told, “That’s not even what upset me in the first place!”?

Doesn’t work too well, right?

Despite all of us having these types of experiences, a concerning number of both organizations and individuals overlook the need to understand how their audience is feeling before speaking to the media. In a crisis situation emotions are running high among your stakeholders. And, because those stakeholders are human just like you and I, if you don’t address how they feel and why they feel that way then the rest of your messaging will fall on deaf ears at best. Often, this type of failure to consider emotion will actually evoke a negative reaction from the stakeholder base, digging you deeper into crisis.

So, before you respond to that reporter, take off your daily wear and spend a few minutes in someone else’s shoes. From an outsider’s perspective, consider what about the situation would have you feeling concerned, scared, or angry. Then, think about how your words, body language, and tone can address those feelings. Cranking up the empathy is a must for any media communication in a crisis, and the faster you can get into the right mindset the more effective you will be.

Erik Bernstein

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