Strategic Communications

Authentic. Ethical. Powerful.

Learn to become a leader who really communicates.

Our specialist media trainers and our proven adult training methodology will make sure you master persuasive communication for media, crisis media, presentation skills and public speaking. We also advise you on media strategy, crisis management and issues management.


Contact Red River

Phone 03 9744 4702 or
contact us at


Over the years a couple of times we have sought training elsewhere to be sure we were getting the best. We’ve always returned to Red River because in our experience there’s nothing better.

Claire Hewat, CEO, Dietitians Association of Australia

I’ve been media trained before, Red River is streets ahead.

Dina Jones, Communication Officer, Vic Roads

Red River is different

Communication Principles

    Red River teaches people
  • to tell stories, not just give quotes
  • to persuade people, not deliver lines
  • to have an agenda, not just answer questions well
  • to engage their audience, not talk at them

In the Training Room

  • Red River arms spokespeople with everything they need to say rather than only their “three key messages”
  • Red River trains in media studios for as close to a “real” experience as possible, giving spokespeople greater confidence when they go “live”
  • Participants get lots of practise with training exercises and media interviews
  • Red River plays back the whole interview to give supervised feedback rather than select a few grabs.
  • Red River gives sdetailed written analysis of every participant
  • Participants can practice their new skills in all communication situations rather than lose them waiting for a media interview
  • Red River helps participants develop a manageable commitment to building their skills after the training program is completed.

Training foundations

  • Red River blends extensive and expert journalistic experience, communication expertise and proven adult training methods
  • All our trainers have a powerful understanding of strategic communication
  • Red River has a disciplined and original approach with proven processes, techniques and models
  • Red River uses adult training methodology for greater “stickability”

Convincing and behaviour-changing messages don't come without a lot of work. Red River has helped us to give our messages “cut through” in an environment of strongly competing views.

The process of developing communications with Red River has also added a litmus test during policy development making sure we've fully considered the spectrum of impacts.’

Dave Shelton
Head of Safety
Vic Roads

Who Red River is

Erina Reddan
Executive Director

“The greatest failing in the Australian style of media training is its focus on defensive media. But if you’re just worried about saving your own neck, you’re not going to make a connection with people and change their thinking or behaviour.

“That’s not communication… that’s just doing time.”

One of Australia’s leading media trainers, Erina is a Walkley Award winning journalist. Her experience includes:

  • ABC Foreign Correspondent  
  • Radio Australia’s Sydney Bureau Chief
  • Recipient of the Screen Producers Association of Australia presentation award
  • Lecturer at Melbourne University
  • Masters Degree in professional writing
  • Certificate IV Workplace and Business Coaching
  • Worked with several other media training companies before founding the Red River Methodology
Also visit -

Dr Victor Del Rio
Director of Crisis Safe – Strategic, Risk and Crisis Management

“If handled well, a crisis can become an opportunity to make your organisation more resilient by allowing you to demonstrate your ethical, humane and responsible principles to your community/customers while protecting your bottom line.”

Dr Del Rio is an expert in strategic management, crisis management, business continuity and communication. His experience includes:

  • Ground-breaking crisis management doctoral research (PhD) in Australia & NZ, Melb University
  • Foreign correspondent for CNN, Televisa
  • Senior executive of several private, public and community organisations
  • Committee Member of Latrobe University Ethics Research Committee
  • Current Member of the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA)
  • Board member of several organisations
  • Former member of the Ministerial Advisory Board - Victorian Business Multicultural Council
  • Diploma and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE)
  • Holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration (Public Policy and Planning)

Also visit -










How Red River helps

Red River tailors your programs to suit your team, from telephone rehearsal through to media mentoring over time.

Our signature courses

Becoming a Media Spokesperson – Teaches you to how to persuade people, not talk at them through the media.  You learn how the media thinks, how to speak the media’s language and how to make sure you get what you need as well. This means you can be heard publicly on issues affecting your organisation, clearly and effectively every time.

High Stakes Media Skills – Builds on the gains made in Becoming  a Media Spokesperson and further develop the simple and meaningful message model.  It focuses on showing you how to tell your story in a way that relates to people and their needs. You also learn how to handle difficult questions and turn them into positives.

Crisis Media – Teaches you to communicate powerfully through a crisis to protect your reputation and your bottom line. This course is based on ground-breaking crisis management doctoral research on business in Australian by our Director of Crisis Management, Dr Victor Del Rio. (Full details under our crisis management link)

Media Mastery – High level interview techniques that teach you to be a master at answering the question, engaging with your audience and hitting winners at the same time.

Mapping the Message – Develops your story in a simple and clear way that tells people what they need to hear and is easy to recall. Your story will include persuasive messages that are broken down into bite-sized pieces which make your comments attractive to the media and influential to your audience.

Issues Audit - Gives you a detailed yet compact analysis of an issue from a variety of perspectives including operational, policy and communications, and sets out an agreed organisational response to key questions to make sure that everyone in the business is reading from the same page.

Crisis Management – For communications professionals, senior executives and board members.  It teaches you how to integrate your crisis management into your established risk and business continuity processes. Click here for more information on Crisis Management

Executive Communication – Teaches you how to communicate clearly and concisely  through presentations, AGMs and community meetings so that you hit your target and make an impact when talking in public.

Skilling Up – Takes veteran communications professionals to a new level in their professional development.


Speaking Topics

  • The Seven Deadly Media Myths – Why you need to talk to the media (and what happens when you do)
  • Media Moves -  Innovative ways to access the media on a budget
  • Prepare or Perish – What’s at stake in a crisis for the unsuspecting
  • What Price Innocence? – Crisis outcomes in Australia
  • Get It Wrong - You Pay the Price – A look at the four top crises in Australia and how they got it so wrong
  • The Secrets of the Great Communicators – How to make an impact
  • Publicity Bonanza - Smart ways to get attention

"Where others teach a kind of Berlitz Phrase Guide to media, Red River teaches the whole language so you can make an impact, instead of just get by.

"Erina is an outstanding strategist, is professional and reliable, has high integrity and always puts in 110 percent."

Dionne Lew, Director,
Corporate Communications,
Vic Roads

Crisis Safe - Crisis Management

Red River helps protect you from taking a hit financially, legally or to your reputation.

The risk of doing nothing

A high profile event can be the end. More than 25 per cent of companies which experience a “high profile” crisis in Australia do not survive. The risk of facing a crisis has escalated dramatically in recent years with the growth in traditional and new media and watch-dog organisations.

Red River has the expertise to help you

Red River has developed a crisis management methodology tailor made for  Australian and  New Zealand organisations. This system is the result of quantitative and qualitative original research carried out by Red River’s Director of Crisis Management, Dr. Victor Del Rio, at Melbourne University.

Red River's approach

Red River’s crisis management methodology relies on written documents but it also emphasises skills development because studies show that a strategy based on better preparing a crisis team outperforms a document-based strategy.


Red River will work with you in:


  • Crisis and communication's risk assessments and audits 
  • Develop crisis strategy plans integrated into established risk assessments and plans for future business growth
  • Co-ordinate strategies with external and internal communications units
  • Provide strategic advice for crisis preparedness including Royal Commissions, State Government Inquiries and court cases
  • Monitor and analyse media, legal, public and staff responses to crisis response strategies

Coaching workshops

  • Crisis management for board members, crisis teams, executives and key operational staff
  • Crisis and media crisis communication for all levels of your organisation, including the front line
  • Team dynamics - A team that is not working well together can trigger a  crisis
  • Ethical leadership in time of crisis
  • The Four Pillar model and how to create an integrated risk and crisis strategy

Facilitation and mediation

Mediation in disputes that may have negative impacts on the reputation or the financial position of the organisation to resolve issues outside the courts.

  • Discrimination and sexual harassment cases
  • Board and inter-management disputes
  • Job evaluation disputes
  • Mediation strategies for dysfunctional teams


Develop specific crisis scenarios to collate and analyse feedback from key stakeholders (focus groups, surveys, boards of management and face to face interviews) and identify best practices.


Success Stories

What they say about us

“Their training is practical and their advice unerringly sound. One of the crucial things is that they’ve taken the time to really understand our industry so that they can help us make more of an impact. 

“Even though we have worked together for years there is always something new to be learnt with Red River. A couple of times we have sought training elsewhere to be sure we were getting the best. We’ve always returned to Red River because in our experience there’s nothing better.”

Claire Hewat
Dietitians Association of Australia


“Many media training companies teach the principles of ‘staying on message’ with the media, regardless of whether it’s relevant to the line of questioning. As a result, practitioners of this old-school approach are rightly criticised as being spin-doctors for their non-responses.

“Red River’s approach encourages media spokespeople to contribute to the conversation by giving perspective and better meaning to the issue of the day. 

“At V/Line we’re working to use this approach not only in our media messaging, but also in our customer materials and dealings with our stakeholders.  Rather than talk just about trains, we’re now able to better articulate our relevance to regional Victorian communities, and as a result give context to both our successes and issues.”

Daniel Moloney
Media Manager


“Erina and the team provided advice and insight that not only helped in the approach to media and issues management, but around general presentation skills.

“The sessions were challenging but practical, and came without the humiliation and game playing sometimes employed in media training sessions.

“Erina provided my colleagues and me with strong support during the training. In fact, she really became a mentor and coach during some very difficult issues in the months after my sessions.”

Jennifer Howard
Former Media Manager


“I’ve been media trained before and Red River is streets ahead. This training brought a real understanding of what was required and how I can meet these requirements. The  other training was based only on a few situations where I learnt to react to specific issues. It didn't give me the confidence like Red River’s did to be able to transfer this knowledge to any other situation or topic that I would be dealing with.”

Dina Jones
Communications officer
Vic Roads


“Red River is a key part of the success of our public profile. In training our team of Media Spokespeople, our Executive Team and members of our Board of Directors, Erina always pitches at the right level, whether they’re beginners or highly experienced.

“I’ve worked in planning for years and I’ve never seen anything like the Red River process. What they did for us in communication not only gave us a genuine and profound way to engage with the community through the media, but also helped us strengthen our planning across the board.”

Bruno Aleksic
Director Planning
Linking Melbourne Authority


“That Red River has taken the time to really understand our industry is invaluable. Erina is also one of the best facilitators I’ve ever come across, because she moves things quickly, keeps everyone engaged and gets results.

“Where others teach a kind of Berlitz Phrase Guide to media, Red River teaches the whole language so you can make an impact, instead of just get by.

“Erina is an outstanding strategist, is professional and reliable, has high integrity and always puts in 110 percent.  If you want more success through communication, I highly recommend Red River.”

Dionne Lew
Director of Communication
Vic Roads


"Every time we work with Red River we gain a new and deeper perspective on V/Line, the topics and issues that we need to talk about publicly and our place in the Victorian community.

“This process has helped us develop a public voice that is direct, honest and practical and represents who we are and what we do.  Red River consistently delivers value.”

Ursula McGinnes
Stakeholder Relations Manager

“In May 2008, the Federal Government floated the possibility to have the $90M funding of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme program (NEIS) either cancel or substantially reduced.  This decision may have impacted thousands of staff members and unemployed people negatively.  Faced with this potential funding crisis, the NEIS association requested the assistance of Red River Strategic Communication to developing and implementing strategies to avert this crisis.  The NEIS association, in conjunction with Red River, produced within six weeks only, an economic and social submission that addressed the concerns of the Federal Government and highlighted the potential negative impacts of the proposed cuts on the Governments own social inclusion Agenda.  Armed with this information our Association lobbied the Australian Government successfully to reverse this decision.   Red River’s participation was instrumental in our success. Red River grasped the key and most complex issues very rapidly and with analytical precision researched and produced the papers that we required to navigate through these storming waters.”

Ariel Moses 

NEIS Association


“Not much goes on in this town without Red River knowing about it, so when they work with us they bring to bear not only great training and advice and incredible analytical skills, but also a broad context to any issue we may be dealing with. You get outstanding communication support and so much more working with these guys.”

Danny Elia
City Link

You need us

Red River can help you make a difference if:

In building your reputation

  • You need high-level messages that are powerful and easy to remember
  • You want to be a powerful ambassador for your organisation
  • You want to change community attitudes and behaviours

In a crisis:

  • You need to protect your organisation’s reputation
  • You want to shield your CEO and Board from the fallout of a crisis
  • You don’t want to lose millions of dollars to rescue your organisation after a crisis has gone wrong.

“Red River’s approach encourages media spokespeople to contribute to the conversation by giving perspective and better meaning to the issue of the day.”

Daniel Moloney
Media Manager

Contact Red River

Please contact us by email using the form below or by phoning Erina Reddan: 

t:  +61(0)3 9744 4702
m: +61(0)409 658 062



Red River Strategic Communication

505 Racecourse Road
Sunbury, Victoria
Australia, 3429

t:  +61 3 9744 4702
f:  +61 3 9744 4938

Contact form