Tom Maddocks

Tom was our guest back in 2012…

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As a contributor to Jane’s Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of? I feel privileged to be asked to appear in the Guest Room – particularly as I have no novel out (and fortunately for the reading public, none in prospect). Jane’s book is full of great tips but as a former TV and radio reporter and presenter with the BBC and Channel Four, I know a lot of people who appear on the media are still missing out on opportunities to get their message across effectively – without sounding like one of those politicians who never answers the questions and makes you want to throw a brick at the radio or TV. Authors usually have lots of interesting things to say, but can’t always say it in a pithy enough way to get the attention of journalists or radio audiences.

My day job is running small-group media training courses for a variety of organisations ranging from charities to large banks. I help them understand what journalists are looking for, how to prepare for a press or broadcast interview, how to deal with tricky questions – and then give them some chances to put it all into practice with realistic interviews on a relevant topic. www.mediatrainingassociates.co.uk will give you the full picture.

However I came to realise that while big companies all put their spokespeople through such courses, many small businesses, sole traders and of course authors could also potentially benefit – I hear lots of stories of people who turn down great media and PR opportunities because they are afraid they’ll get misquoted or make fools of themselves on the air.

So colleague Linda Lewis and I have developed our much more affordable “Complete Media Confidence for the Smaller Business” course, which is delivered online by streaming video modules, and a “Media Doctor” service where we can give you realistic interview practice over the phone in readiness for the “real thing”, to help you grab the opportunities and avoid falling into the traps. You can see more information about these at www.mediatrainingonline.com, as well as lots of free media tips and blog posts which we hope you will find useful. If you click on our blog link, then “Favourite Media Moments” you will see some notorious car-crash interviews which will cheer you up – my favourite is Eamonn Holmes trying to get some sense out of the American illusionist David Blane, but failing miserably, in an encounter he described as “the longest five minutes of his life”. You could only do better.

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