3 Steps to Media Interview Success

A media interview can give you and your organisation or business credibility and enhance your profile and reputation. That relies, of course, on coming across effectively in the interview. Press and media profile can be a great boost but it can also go horribly wrong. There are, however, three key steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of getting your key messages across.

Three steps to media interview success

  • Preparing for your media interview
You can never spend enough time preparing for a media interview. That preparation needs to include getting background on the journalist, the programme/publication/website they represent, the format for the interview, the style of the interview. You need to have a clear idea about who else might be interviewed, whether the interview is live or recorded, the logistics for the interview, how the journalist found you (unless it was following a press release you issued).

The other part of your preparation should focus on developing the key messages i.e. the key points you want to get across. Those key messages need to be in your own words so that you are as comfortable as possible with them with examples and statistics to back them up. Another crucial part of your preparation is to think about the most obvious questions you will be asked as well as those that would be most difficult to handle.

  • Practising so that you can refine your media interview technique
Your preparation is nothing without taking the time to practise. Only you will know how much practise will work for you. Some people are keen to practise again and again while others feel they are going stale after a couple of mock interviews. Whatever route you go down it's essential to test out your key messages. You have to feel comfortable with them and believe that they will work for you. Input from colleagues can be very useful in assessing the style you use and spotting any distracting habits you have that you may not be aware of.

  • Putting yourself in control
Many people worry about media interviews because they don't know what questions they might be asked. The simple truth is that you don't need to know the questions. You focus instead on your answers and the points you want to get across (your key messages). That does not mean that you ignore the questions. Rather, you use 'bridging' techniques to stay in control of the interview. 'Bridging' phrases are terms you can use to make reference to the question but then steer the interview back onto your agenda, such phrases include: that's an interesting point but as I mentioned before; Coming back to my previous point; the important point to remember is...

In a nutshell: Effective press or media interviews require preparation and practise. Get those two elements right and it puts you in control. That, in turn, will build your confidence.

Author:.

Debbie Leven has worked in Public Relations (PR) for 20 years.  She runs her own business providing PR consultancy and training.  She also provides PR coaching, showing organisations, businesses and individuals how to do PR and supporting them on developing and implementing their PR plans.  For more free PR tips, advice and resources go to the website: http://www.prcoach.co.uk

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