Even for seasoned business professionals, media interviews of any type can be daunting. As someone who has been both the interviewer and the interviewee, here are some top tips on how to survive.
Plan, research and prepare:
No matter how long you have before giving an interview (five minutes or five days), use the time to research your audience, plan what you would like to say and prepare answers to questions that you anticipate they may ask you.
Have three key messages:
Following on from the above, have clear in your mind three key messages that you will stick to during your interview. You can answer other questions, but try to always steer them back to at least one key message. This will give you some control over the interview and ensure you get what your business needs out of it.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions:
People are often shocked when I tell them to ask questions, but why not? An interview doesn’t have to be one-way traffic. Before the interview, ask them what they want to talk to you about. During the interview, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat, clarify or rephrase a question, or to politely rebut something you believe is inaccurate.
Speak more slowly:
Even if it is not a radio interview, speak slowly. Don’t let nerves or excitement rush your words. What seems slow to you will sound normal to everyone else, with the added benefit of it being easy to understand your three key messages.
Pause for thought:
Once the question has been asked, take a few seconds to gather your thoughts. It may feel like an age to you, but will be barely noticeable to anyone else.
Come back to your key messages:
If, by the end of the interview, you feel you haven’t been able to really convey your key messages, ask the interviewer if you can add a few words, then outline them.
Ask to see the article before publication:
You’ll get a mixed response to this; some publications have a policy not to release any material prior to printing. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The worst they can say is “no”. And at best, you get a chance to see what has been said before it is published, giving you time to correct any errors or prepare any response.
Wenna Tudor is a Marketing and PR Consultant for KMS Marketing. As well having been a journalist, she has also held a number of press office roles. She has been interviewed by the world’s media, including speaking live on Radio 5 Live.
Contact us if you would like to find out how to make Media Coverage a useful part of your Marketing and PR strategy to help your business deliver results.