We get it, speaking with a journalist can feel really intimidating. Whatever you say will be in print and online for… an eternity. The risk, however, is worth the reward, because a strong media interview can connect you with the audience you’re trying to reach in a genuine way. Because of what’s at stake, proper preparation is your only option. These five tips are designed to protect your ego, your reputation, and keep you from needing Crisis PR.
Before you’re on-air, decide what key points you want the reporter to take away from the conversation. It’s up to you to communicate these points. Get comfortable with repetition and be ready to re-state your messages as many times as it takes to ensure you’ve been heard and understood.
You wouldn’t run a marathon without proper preparation and a press interview is no exception to “practice makes perfect”. One of the best ways to practice is to map out the questions you think you’ll be asked and answer each out loud. This will give you a sense of where you struggle long before you’re live on air.
You have a job to do, and so does the reporter. To get a sense of the conversation the reporter is looking to have, simply ask. If it’s commentary on a new government policy, keep your answers concise and high level. If it’s a full feature on your business, you have the green light to offer more detail.
Close your email and switch your phone to silent. If a message pops up during an interview, you run the risk of getting distracted and losing your train of thought. No notification alert is as important as being focused and able to answer questions thoughtfully and concisely. Turn off anything that can buzz, beep, or ring.
If you don’t have the answer to a reporter’s question, avoid coming up with something on the spot. Nobody expects you to remember every single piece of data or statistic about your industry. Get comfortable admitting you don’t have the info or you aren’t the best person to speak to that subject matter. Providing an incorrect statistic can look sloppy and won’t help build credibility for yourself or the business you’re representing.