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Chamber organizes media training workshops for businesses

Sessions scheduled for Oct. 13 and Nov. 18

Hone your interview style, craft your business' message and make sure the world hears your story during the 2010 Winter Games.

Those are the skills that the Whistler Chamber of Commerce wants to teach businesses this fall through their media training workshops, scheduled for Oct. 13 and Nov. 18.

"Given the extent of media coverage and media attention on Whistler both locally, nationally and internationally, we thought it would be a good tool for our businesses to have," said Fiona Famulak, chamber president. "Presumably the media will be looking for interesting stories and some of our business may not be used to dealing with the media on an ongoing basis."

The chamber decided to organize the workshops on their own initiative as another way to help businesses prepare for the Olympic period next year. The 2010 Commerce Centre is also organizing a similar program in Vancouver.

Famulak said national media organizations like CBC, CTV and Global are on the ground in Whistler fairly regularly, talking to local businesses about how they are preparing for the Games. And international media companies will also interview people in Whistler.

To help businesses polish their media-savvy skills, the chamber is bringing up a professional media training company from Vancouver, The Tartan Group, which will be holding two levels of workshops.

The first level, or Workshop 1, is a classroom session that will teach attendees how to work effectively with the media, how to determine what a good story is and how to determine what their audience is.

The second level, or Workshop 2, will provide attendees with four hours of practical, on-hands experience with things like interviewing and crafting their message. Attendees will also get a chance to practice their skills in front of a camera for a 30-minute segment.

Any business people interested will have to take Workshop 1 before proceeding onto Workshop 2.

"The purpose is really to help businesses prepare their story and deliver their story so that they are telling their story in the most effective way, bearing in mind that we will have worldwide attention for those days in February and March," said Famulak.

"We want our businesses to be as prepared as possible and the workshops will teach the attendees how to craft their message and how to deliver their message to the world in the most effective way."

Right now, two series of workshops are scheduled for October and November, although a third series might be added in December if there is enough interest.

Famulak added that so far three businesses have signed up.