With the continuing demand for news stories and articles to fill the hours/pages of the media, more and more of us, for one reason or another, are finding ourselves the object of media attention.
The exposure the media can give you and your company is enormous and equivalent to thousands of pounds worth of advertising. For this reason it is worth being prepared so you can make the most of what is essentially a golden opportunity.
Why are Media Interviews a Challenge?
When we talk to the media we are required to use all our personal style and communication skills to put over our message clearly and effectively. For anyone who has had experience of this will know that it is not an easy thing to do, even for the professionals, as it requires extensive preparation and more specialised communication skills than we use normally.
Below are some of the fundamental rules to follow when giving a media interview:
Media interviews are never neutral
The journalist will always have their own perspective, so you need to make sure you have your own angle. You will need to think about who your audience is – find out when the interview will be aired or published and consider who may be watching, listening or reading.
Try to identify the issues and subjects that will most appeal to your audience. Television, radio and print interviewers are often focused on presenting a lively, entertaining article/program – not on promoting you or your company. If your angle can fulfill the journalists brief as well as your own, then you have more chance of succeeding in getting across the message you want.
Preparation is vital for your next media interview
Do your preparation thoroughly and try to cover who, what, when, how and why. Be confident in your knowledge, you should know your subject better than the journalist. Make sure you have prepared some notes on the subject you will be talking about before the interview.
If a journalist comes on the phone for an immediate quote spend at least a few minutes preparing your ground before you call them back. Try to anticipate what questions the journalist is likely to ask you and rehearse your replies.
Learn to Speak in Sound bites
Because of the nature of media interviews being in very short segments, it is good to come up with short statements or phrases (sound bites) around which you can build your interview. Most audiences will only remember 2 or 3 statements so it is best to work on a maximum of 3 sound bites.
Work on making your sound bites memorable; try using: Strong emotions, analogies, quotes, bold actions or statements, or rhetorical questions. A good test of the effectiveness of your sound bite is, does it answer the “So what?” question. The more succinct you are the more memorable you will be to your audience.
The 3 main Principles
Be confident in what you are saying – You are the expert after all and the audience/readers want to feel that they can trust what you are saying.
Use a concise and conversational style – Try not to patronise, lecture or get too technical.
Keep control – Use sound bites, stick to your prepared plan and make sure you get your pre determined message across.
About the author of this Media Skills Article
This article was written by James, one of Skillstudio’s consultant trainers.
James is based in London, is an excellent trainer; and runs many of our media, presentation and interview skills training sessions (from 1-2-1 coaching through to Masterclasses).
Read more about James here.
Media Coaching from Skillstudio
If you’d like James or one of our other media coaches to help ensure you excel at your next media interview and get the media exposure you actually want then Skillstudio are there to help. We provide:-
Media Interview Training & Coaching – 121 Coaching
Half day or full day, 121 coaching and training in Media Interview Skills by an expert media coach. Held in London, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and throughout the UK and always tailored exactly to your personal requirements.
Media Training Courses – Public Courses
This is a two-day, highly interactive public workshop designed to build your confidence and the critical media skills required to ensure success at your next media interview. Its held regularly in Central London and Birmingham.
Media Interview Training Course – In-House Workshops
We can also run our 2-day media interview skills workshop for your organisation on an in-house basis at your premises throughout the UK and Europe. Our in-house workshops can also be tailored to your specific needs – both in terms of content and duration.
Call us today on 08456 444 150 if you want to discuss how our training can help you excel at your next media interview.
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