Insights EDU

Using Virtual Reality for Media Training

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Dom Barnard | Co-Founder | VirtualSpeech

07 May 2021 | 4 min read

Most media interviews are straightforward and provide an excellent opportunity to share news or tell a story about you or your company, as well as contribute industry-relevant knowledge on a topic. Yet, interacting with the media can be a stressful encounter and these interviews have the potential to make or break you or your company’s reputation.

Whether on a local, national or international level, every media outlet, journalist, or influencer has the opportunity to boost or hurt your brand.

That’s why it’s crucial to prepare for every media interaction ahead of time.

In this article, we discuss what media training is and how virtual reality (VR) can help prepare you for different media interactions.


What is media training?

Media training is a form of communications training. When done properly, it helps you deliver your message effectively during interactions with the media. As the company’s spokesperson, you could be asked to take part in a media interview or press conference at short notice. In these situations, media training will help you come across as comfortable, confident and relaxed.

But one question remains: why use VR in media training?

Using VR for media training can help you predict questions you are going to be asked and prepare you to answer these appropriately. It will also train you to keep your message focused and clear, while avoiding common traps. The best part: you will be able to give reporters quotes they can use in their stories. It’s a win win scenario!

Here are four key benefits of using VR in your media training.

1. Practice in realistic virtual environments

In VR, many different media settings can be replicated. including press conferences, radio interviews, media ambushes, TV interviews, and more. Both the look and feel of these scenarios can be recreated in a virtual environment, including the journalists and interviewers.

VR Media training - radio station setting

Example of a radio interview scenario in VR. The interviewer is shown in the centre of the image, who asks you a range of questions. Source: VirtualSpeech

By practicing in these realistic scenarios, you are learning through experience. This type of learning can help you overcome the anxiety you may feel before dealing with the media.

Additionally, by simulating these media scenarios you get an understanding of how different media situations work and feel. For example, how you will be introduced during a typical press conference, or what a TV studio looks like from the perspective of the person being interviewed.

2. Get feedback on your performance during VR media training

Practicing alone is not enough to improve. You need feedback to determine how well you are performing and to help identify the areas where you need to work on.

This feedback is provided in VR in real time. VR media training software can also track and measure your eye contact, the keywords you are saying, whether you’re talking too quickly or too slow, and how easy you are to listen to, and much more.

With this analysis on your performance, you can work on improving your key messaging and how you come across to the audience.

3. Simulate hostile journalists and questions

One area most of us fear before a media interview is being asked hostile or difficult questions. VR can be programmed to ask you hundreds of different questions related to the type of media interaction you are having.
Your answers to these questions are then analysed. You will then receive feedback on your responses to make sure you are answering the questions appropriately and effectively.

For example, in VirtualSpeech’s VR Media Training course, you can practice answering questions on a range of topics, from crisis situations, to a new product launch, to questions on a new company merger.

4. A trainer can roleplay situations

Training in VR does not mean you will be training alone. There can be other people in the same virtual room as you. They would be represented by avatars, who can see and hear each other. These avatars can roleplay journalists in the audience or even the interviewer, asking you questions during and after the VR training.

VR Media Training - Hostile interview setting

Example of a training session with an instructor. The two avatars with names above their heads are being controlled by humans, who can see and hear each other. Source: VirtualSpeech

Picture this, you are practicing how to deliver a statement at a press conference. The room is full of reporters and journalists. One of the avatars in the audience is your trainer, who asks you questions throughout your delivery. He or she also gives you feedback on how you are doing. You will not only nail the delivery of the statement, but also experience what it is like to deliver it in front of an audience.

The instructor-led VR media training works well for a few reasons. First, you are receiving feedback from a human instructor. Also, you are practicing in a realistic environment, while avoiding the need to visit a training centre. This type of training is great for more complex media situations where you require detailed feedback on your responses to questions.

In summary

Virtual reality is a great tool to use while preparing for an upcoming media interview or press conference. It provides realistic virtual environments to practice in before the actual event. It also allows you to work on answering challenging and hostile questions.

The best part is that you’ll be able to deliver your message confidently and have a positive impact on your company’s reputation.

About the author:

Dom Barnard is an entrepreneur, VR enthusiast and engineer with a passion for finding new ways to improve communication skills using technology. Dom previously worked at Jaguar Land Rover before leaving in 2016 to start VirtualSpeech, an award-winning company for soft skills training in VR, which has been used by 350,000 learners worldwide.