Presentation Skills Training – For Royal Commissions and Government Inquiries

© Commonwealth of Australia 2018

Being called to appear before a Royal Commission or other government inquiry can be an intimidating experience. But going into it with a defensive mindset is a recipe for disaster.

The hearings need to be recognised as an opportunity; an opportunity to provide the commission or government with facts and figures, and your organisation’s perspective on the issue that is being investigated. Appearing before the inquiry gives you a chance to have a say, and ensure that your perspective is taken into consideration in determining the outcome.

Telling the truth is mandatory. But witnesses must also manage a number of competing priorities, including protecting their organisation’s reputation, protecting their senior management, and of course protecting themselves.

The key solution is training and preparation.

You can’t go into a Royal Commission, or indeed, any major public appearance where you are open to intense scrutiny, without training and intensive preparation, unless you are a seasoned inquiry witness or performer.

You need to ensure your witnesses are prepared for the job. It’s unfair to them and your organisation’s reputation if they are under-prepared. Even negligent.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2018

Witnesses need comprehensive training to:

  • Understand the commission or inquiry’s legal status and the procedures and protocols it follows
  • Understand the players and the role each play
  • Identify the subject matter they’re likely to be questioned upon
  • Identify the key information and messages your organisation has to offer the commission or inquiry
  • Learn the skills to perform without being restricted by fear and intimidation from questioners

© Commonwealth of Australia 2018

Media Manoeuvres specialises in this training. As a leading communications skills company, they train people to face the media, deliver keynote addresses at international industry conferences, make presentations to the board or staff meetings, address diverse stakeholders in high-stakes forums and appear before government inquiries or Senate Estimates hearings.

Indeed, Media Manoeuvres trains executives in the full gamut of public, high-profile appearances or in doing on-camera video presentations – or really anything else that requires speaking to other people. They are sometimes referred to as verbal evangelists.

Media Manoeuvres offers intensive one-on-one or small group training sessions that help you to prepare the materials you need to present to a Commission or inquiry, and develop the skills to be able to deliver your message in a calm, professional manner.

Media Manoeuvres aims to give you confidence and control.

The training and coaching comprises three components:

  • Extensive research before training
  • Verbal communication theory and a framework for delivering information and messages
  • Presentation skills coaching

Prior to the hearing, Media Manoeuvres liaises with clients and prepares a detailed brief on the Royal Commission or government inquiry’s terms of reference and the political landscape that gave rise to the inquiry being called.

Our team will:

  • Conduct research on all the issues at play and identify the key stakeholders, their issues and key drivers
  • Review all the submissions that have been presented
  • Evaluate the evidence that has been given
  • Analyse the media coverage the commission or inquiry has generated
  • Identify the issues about which witnesses are likely to be questioned
  • Help to identify the key messages your witnesses need to present
  • Help to distill those key messages and back them up with the necessary evidence to substantiate them

Armed with all this background information, Media Manoeuvres then conducts coaching sessions with each of the participants, to give them the skills to be comfortable enough to perform at their best in the inquiry itself. Media Manoeuvres holds as many sessions as it takes to ensure that the people who are going to appear before the commission or inquiry are ready to face sustained questioning.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2018

This component of the training is undertaken in a ‘live’ filmed, interview format to familiarize participants with the intensity of lights and cameras. This teaches them how to think on their feet, not just when they’re being asked questions face-to-face, but when they are being asked questions in the ‘hot seat’ with the full gaze of the commission and the media upon them.

In these sessions, executives learn how to:

  • Conduct themselves at the inquiry
  • Present their opening statement
  • Respond to questioning
  • Tailor their message in a concise and easily understood format, using the Media Manoeuvres PUSH© model



Media Manoeuvres’ communication models will help witnesses to:

  • Deliver a message in a manner that satisfies the commission or inquiry, and is also easily accessible and understandable for the media and the general public
  • Deal with aggressive questioning
  • Identify ‘hot button’ issues
  • Deal with questions that may be inaccurate or biased
  • Understand the media role and deliver media-savvy answers that minimize the chance of negative publicity
  • Understand when witnesses should answer, and when they should take a question on notice
  • Develop control techniques

The training is detailed and exhaustive, and with due cause.

A Royal Commission is a court of law with considerable powers, and a government inquiry is equally serious.

They have strict terms of reference, and strict procedures. The counsel assisting a commission and the counsel representing key stakeholders are all highly trained professionals.

The task of representing an organisation at such a commission or inquiry carries with it considerable responsibility.

It is a wonderful opportunity to be heard, and to have your message considered.

But to grasp the opportunity you need the skills to do it. It’s your insurance policy.

Our Business Through Your Business is Working For Good

Media Manoeuvres has become a lifelong, proud member of a global business community that’s creating positive change in the world with the Buy One Give One (B1G1) programme.

We will automatically donate to a cause related to your organisation, industry or personal choice on your behalf (there is no additional cost to you).

The B1G1 programme has a range of carefully sourced projects that have a real impact on the lives of those in need. We’re hoping to make a difference in our world by just doing what we normally do and we’d love you to be part of that.