Author: Gina Mason/August 2013
“I want to kiss you. I couldn’t care less about the team strugg-a-ling”
Now, Joe Namath is not the first person to make a huge mistake while doing an interview and he definitely won’t be the last. Almost daily, you can count on someone whether it’s an athlete, CEO, politician or just an average Joe to put their foot in their mouth during an interview. That is why media training is vital when interacting with reporters and it is extremely important to develop the fundamental skills needed to do a great interview. These skills go beyond looking good on camera and being able to come up with things on the fly. Being able to stay cool, calm, collected and effectively communicate your message when in the spotlight is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, practice and preparation to do a quality interview and there is no time table or magic wand to wave to suddenly be good at it. Each person is different and it is a gradual progression of trial and error.
Below are a few tips that we at Indra Public Relations incorporate in our media training programs that may help you when you secure that big interview.
Before the Interview:
Do your research
Learn as much as you can about the person who is interviewing you along with the media outlet they work for. Read some recent articles or watch some interviews on YouTube to get some background information on the reporter’s journalistic style and understand how they portray their interviewees.
Prepare key talking points
Have a strategic message prepared prior to your interview and have talking points that map out what you would like to communicate to your audience. Brainstorm likely questions that you may be asked and if you have recently faced a crisis, understand that you may get some difficult questions.
During the Interview:
Remain calm and confident
Don’t rush through the interview. Listen carefully to the questions that are asked and then incorporate your key talking points. Remember, most reporters are not out to get you and they are not trying to make you look like a fool. Take a few deep breaths, speak slowly and remember that you are there to spread YOUR message.
Stay on track and try to “bridge” your answers
The reason that you are doing this interview is most likely to talk about your company or brand so remember that! Try to stay on topic and revert back to the key talking points that you previously prepared. If for some reason you find yourself off topic, try to find a smooth transition to the message you want to communicate. For example, “before we get off topic, let’s discuss…”
Never say “no comment”
If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. You can tell the reporter that you don’t have the precise answer, but never say “no comment.” No comment has a negative connotation and people automatically assume that you are untrustworthy. Say something like, “I don’t have the exact statistic or answer on that, so I will have to get back to you on that.”
After an interview:
Follow up with the reporter
We believe that is it always great to follow up with the reporter after an interview. A quick thank you email is a great way to not only show your gratitude, but also further develop your relationship with the reporter down the road.
Evaluate your interview and learn from each experience
It is always good to reflect back on the interview to see if you successfully communicated your desired message. Learn from the mistakes you made and try to improve upon each interview. Like many things in life, practice makes perfect. So the more interviews that you do, the more skilled and comfortable you will become.
If you are interested in learning more about our media training program at Indra Public Relations, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.