I was very fed up at the prospect of moving my media training sessions online 6 months ago. I love the interaction with clients and face-to-face sessions have a dynamic, realism and sense of fun it’s hard to create through a computer screen.

However, while I’m no fan of never-ending Zoom meetings, well planned training sessions with plenty of breaks, interactivity and light relief –can work really well both for the trainer and client.

A Zoom-based media training session should not be structured like a face-to-face session. The core learning points don’t change– understanding the news agenda, how to plan, message clarity, bridging skills and verbal and non-verbal skills are the same and bespoke to the clients’ needs. However, the structure of the course is different – broken into bite size chunks with plenty of group interactivity and videos. Tea breaks are needed more than ever and give clients the chance not just to feed their cat but to rest their eyes, have a brew and reflect and plan for the next challenge.

With help from our cameraman the interviews are recorded and played back immediately.

It’s not possible to recreate the feeling (or sheer terror) of being confronted with a TV camera lights and microphone but there are many skills to be taught through Zoom-based interviews.  It never ceases to amaze me how even professional reporters, politicians and pundits conduct interviews with their screens too low giving an unflattering view of chins and nostrils.

Where Zoom (and Teams) really come into their own is in the flexibility they offer. Half our sessions are with delegates based across the country saving the time and trouble of everyone having to be present in one place.  Several clients are international and, assuming the time-zones work, we offer training to delegates based around the globe for just half the cost of a UK based face-to-face session.

Now, as I emerge blinkingly (and probably fleetingly) back into the world of in-person media training sessions, I appreciate the human interaction of these traditional sessions, but I always offer the option of Zoom instead. These sessions have real value too.