01.30.2010

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day conducting media training for a major corporation with two media trainers I highly respect. One, Bill Salvin, is an excellent trainer I used for many years while at Amway. He started working with us back in the ’90s when he was with The Conner Group, founded by Tim Conner. The other tainer I worked with was Tim Conner himself.

I’ve always enjoyed working with Tim, an accomplished trainer with extensive experience working with the aviation/aerospace, defense, energy, high tech and healthcare industries.  He’s conducted hundreds of programs for companies such as DuPont, BP, Lockheed Martin, United Space Alliance, NASA, Starbucks, Expedia and more. Plus, he’s a Commander in the Navy Reserve and, between his service and his consultancy he’s worked on six continents and nearly all 50 states and 20 foreign countries. He was an award-winning journalist earlier in his career  and covered presidential primaries, interviewing Bill Clinton and George Bush as part of his work.

Tim, with whom Bill started his media training career, has an equally incredible career spanning four decades and touching nearly every corner of the communications industry. He developed training programs for and consulted with some of the world’s largest corporations. From airlines and energy companies to retail fashion and government agencies, Tim is one of the most sought after communications consultants. He too began his career in the media, starting as a writer and reporter in radio and television while earning his degree from Coe College in Iowa. He alter earned his graduate degree in communications from Syracuse University, then flew jet fighters for the Marines for five years.

Having dinner with Bill and Tim essentially is tapping into a wealth of expertise and history and stories. I enjoy both of these guys so much. A company that hires these two guys to do media training, meanwhile, taps into some of the best training available to prepare company executives and spokespeople to represent their organization in front of the cameras during a crisis.

SO, working with them this week to train 15 execs of a major U.S. corporation was a GREAT honor for me. I’ve done media training internally at Amway for many years and have helped prepare a few clients for the cameras as well.  Working with Bill and Tim, however, is really working in the big leagues, and I think our sessions went really well.  I did practice interviews and provided counsel to four of these execs, helping them understand some basics about going into media interviews with an agenda and using simple bridging tactics to get to their key messages.

I’m looking forward to future opportunities to work with Bill and Tim and to providing media training to my own clients as well. I truly believe that the things we taught during these sessions will help the trainees not only in times of crisis but also as we prepare for just about any meeting they go into.  How prepared are you for your next crisis?  How prepared are you to talk from the podium? How prepared are you for your next staff meeting?