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Hekia Parata missing one media training skill

2 November 2012
Education Minister Hekia Parata is lacking in one media training area when being interviewed over school closures. It showed up again last night during an interview on Close Up with Mark Sainsbury. She appears fed up with the constant complaints about the policy. She has certainly been thrown a hospital pass with the Education portfolio as a new minister. It’s her failure to empathise with those affected by the changes that is lacking. We always tell our media training clients to show some empathy for people affected by a policy or adverse event. This is even if you don’t agree with their argument. Last night the mother of a special needs student was also on the show, asking Mrs Parata why the school her daughter was at had to be closed. The Minister did state why the school had to close. But first she needed to empathise with the mother and her daughter. Her answer should have been preceded with something like: “I understand this is a difficult time for the mother and her daughter, but…then say why the school must close. From a media training perspective, this would show her as a caring minister, even though she has made a tough decision. This strategy would convince more people to accept her argument. This is a mistake many leaders make. It can make them seem uncaring, even though this is not their intention. This is an important media training tip as it can have major implications for future careers.

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Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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