Are You More Prepared Than a Congressman?

Shawn Conrad

The same day New York Congressman Michael Grimm physically threatened a news reporter following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, IPI conducted its annual Media Training seminar for 35 Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) candidates. This two-day course has been offered by IPI for more than 20 years, becoming more relevant as parking grows as a popular subject with many media outlets.

Parking professionals regularly find themselves sought-out by reporters seeking input on new management approaches or technology improvements. We live in a 24/7 new cycle, and everything big (and not-so-big) is newsworthy.  Cue the misbehaving teen pop singer.

IPI’s Media Training session began with the question, “How many of you think the media is on your side?”  Not one participant raised his hand. The instructors, not surprised by this reaction, leapt at the chance to showcase all of the ways a person being interviewed can get his messages across, showing our CAPP candidates how to tell their stories when the cameras arrive. Being prepared for an interview helps you not only get your message across, but also helps alleviate any anxiety you might have before the microphone is thrust in your face.

Every time a parking professional looks into a camera, clips on a microphone, or speaks at an event covered by reporters is a chance to get an organization’s message across. When you look and act confident and provide useful information to a reporter’s questions, you serve as an effective ambassador for the parking industry.

Contrary to popular belief, most reporters are just trying to get the story accurately and on time. They aren’t out there to ask “gotcha” questions or make you look uninformed. Preparation is key.

You’ll be glad to know that just as IPI offers education modules on technology, payment systems, and sustainability at state and regional meetings, thanks to our Parking Matters® committee, we are currently developing a media training module that should be ready in the fall. We’ll all benefit from having more parking ambassadors prepared to talk about all the positives in parking.

IPI’s Media Training seminars are conducted to a growing audience ever year. My hope is that you never find yourself asked questions that don’t pertain to the subject area you originally agreed to address. But if you do, media training will give you the skills to handle it on a much more appropriate and less risky way than a certain congressman from New York.

 

 

Not Teacher But Awakener

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

I was recently talking with a few colleagues and the discussion turned to the topic of mentors. The question of who our mentors were and why was thrown out on the table and brought about an interesting conversation. You won’t be surprised that qualities such as “driven,” “tough but fair,” and “had your back” were used to describe the people who served as our coaches, advisers, and guides. Ours were also experts in their professions, successful, and fiercely loyal to those invited under their wings.

As each person shared their stories, I couldn’t help but think how lucky one is to have a mentor and how important it is to one’s growth, maturation, and success. No one in our group picked anyone without integrity and character, or anyone who didn’t see being a mentor as an important role. Under the guidance of our mentors, we each awoke to our own potential and learned firsthand what qualities go into being successful in any pursuit.

I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors. One who comes to mind was a guy I  met in the military and served with in the Iraq war. He taught me how to look after people, was one of the most technically proficient people I have ever met, and there wasn’t a challenge he couldn’t overcome.

What about you? Have you thought about your mentor lately? What characteristics stand out about your mentor? Are you a mentor? And finally, have you thanked your mentor lately?