Secrets of the Media Savvy: Top 5 Tips for Media Interviews

Everyone has to do it at some point in his or her life…yes, we’re talking about public speaking.  And sometimes public can mean 3.5 million viewers listening to you while you’re representing an entire company or perhaps even an entire industry.  No matter how often or rarely you speak with the media, it’s important to never take it for granted.  Even the best have bad days, bad interviews, and things they’d take back in a do-over, but there are things you can always consider before an interview to help make it as successful as possible.  Here are our top 5 tips:

1. Practice- ask others to conduct mock interviews with you. Start with simple questions like ‘what do you do, what does your company do?’  Sometimes we prepare too much that we forget to have answers for the obvious questions.  Ask them to pay attention to your body language, nervous ticks, words such as ‘um’ ‘uh,’ or ‘like’ spoken too often.  Control the speed of your responses, speak clearly and concisely and at appropriate volume.

2. Do your research- familiarize yourself with the host and the news outlet first.  Are they going to ask tough questions? Are they casual? Who is the audience? Is the interview going to be live or pre-taped? Do you know exactly what they intend to discuss with you?  Ask for example questions.

3. Know your purpose- prepare two to three key messages and essential points you want to get across during your interview.  The interview can always go in a different direction, but as long as you always remember why you wanted to take the opportunity to speak with the media in the first place, you can accomplish your goal.

4. Know how to bridge- when the interview starts going in a direction you’re not comfortable with, is off topic, or is taking up too much time, know how to redirect with a few simple phrases:

  • I don’t know on that one, let me get back to you
  • Before we get off topic, I wanted to mention…
  • It’s important to remember that…

5. Drive home key points- narrow the focus and plan the points you want the reporter and the audience to take away from the interview.  Even if things got sketchy in the middle, take the opportunity at the end to make the listeners remember you the way you want to be remembered.

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