NEWS

Keeping the viewers awake

But does learning public-speaking skills apply to politicians as well? Observing the impressive improvement made by public figures with experience on television, such as Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Dora Bakoyianni, it becomes a question of to what extent a politician would obey the instructions of media trainers. «Few do. They want us simply to give them a few tips and correct something along with that. They won’t accept going back to the classroom; they think they’re aces communication-wise. The result is that on television, the same figures with a gift at communicating appear, and the rest complain that they have been excluded.» said Marianna Pyrgioti. «Nobody has cut them out, they’re terrible on television and just don’t see it. They aren’t invited because they don’t sell. They don’t know elocution; they speak poorly; they don’t say witty things; they don’t keep the discussion alive,» she continued. «Why should Nikos Hadzinikolaou (a news presenter) invite someone… who sends the viewers to sleep? That’s what politicians don’t understand. «That’s why I prefer corporate executives who know what they want and are at very high level,» said Pyrgioti. Quite a few politicians make the decision to have training chiefly at pre-election periods. «Some, due to time pressures, want to come in to do a one- or two-day program. But nobody can be trained in just one or two days. We can help them become familiar with the techniques but we explain that a training program that short cannot have any real results,» said Yiannakopoulou. «The truth is that politicians listen carefully and in the end use their personal criteria to decide which road to follow. Most of them, of course, do what they want in the end!» Media training should not be confused with imagemaking, on which so much has been written these pre-election days. «What you are, how you are, if you should change style, speech or the image you want to project is not our job: That’s the imagemaker’s job,» Pyrgioti explains. «The important thing is that we know the real rules and not the myth about the mass media – the inside deals, the contacts, the money, all that which people take as true. We give trainees the real picture of reporters as most of them function in reality. I think everyone who has been through our program has understood the rules of the game from the other side, while previously they had a wary, jaundiced view of journalism. They thought everything was done in secret, through backdoor deals or by bribe. Suddenly, they see how simple things are. I think it’s not by chance that abroad, media training is conducted strictly along these lines.»