Peter Marshall, Roast Busters and media training

8 November 2013
Police often appear too laid back when discussing sensitive issues. But Commissioner Peter Marshall did well on Campbell Live last night, showing just how important body language is when the stakes are high. Peter MarshallThe reputation of Police has been put to the test lately. Many believe they have not taken the Roast Busters issue seriously. Others think this is a symptom of a wider systemic problem. What Police may not realise is that the public will be judging their response to the issue even more seriously than the issue itself. This is where the media training skills of their spokespeople are vital. If they appear laid back, they will give the impression they are not concerned. Some spokespeople have been guilty of this. It is nothing intentional, but nerves or a lack of understanding can make them appear uninterested. Their voices can also sound monotone and uncaring. People take more notice of this than the messages they are communicating. However, Peter Marshall was a breath of fresh air last night. From a media training perspective, he came across as genuine and sympathetic while at the same time confidently backing the way his force had handled the Roast Busters issue. Even when challenged on some of his answers, he remained calm and continued to express himself naturally with his hands. He also spoke slowly, and never once got flustered. He appeared to be a confident leader who was sincere, but also proud of the Police he represented. When the stakes are high, it’s vital that Police spokespeople possess all the necessary media training skills. Peter Marshall has them, but most police fronting the media have work to do. Without wanting to be cruel, some remind me of a post-match interview with an All Black forward in the 1970s.

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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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