What It Is
A conversation with a reporter is unlike any other conversation most people will have in a lifetime. The goal is to deliver compelling and quotable messages that are included in a story and make the spokesperson appear credible.
Why We Do It
Even the best public speakers are not necessarily going to give a great media interview. On top of that, there are so many different kinds of interviews today to accommodate reporters’ increasing workload that spokespeople have more challenges and opportunities than ever before.
How We Do It
Part 1: Your Media Moment
The average media outlet reaches tens of thousands of people. Imagine stopping in the middle of your workday, getting up from your desk, and without a moment of preparation, addressing a stadium of thousands of customers, employees, friends, and competitors. One more thing: the entire speech is recorded and televised. This is not meant to intimidate; your media moment is an opportunity. So take a deep breath and prepare.
Part 2: Delivering the Message
Successful interviews are message driven. They are not question and answer sessions with a reporter. They are strategic conversations that YOU LEAD in order to create a specific response or action.
When you are talking to reporters, remember their motivations:
- You know more than they do; lead and teach without dumbing down
- Their #1 job is to tell a good story; be quotable, interesting, and interested
- Accuracy is important for the news; it’s ok to say you don’t know something and send it later
- They need more than one source; think about who else can help tell your story
If a reporter asks an irrelevant question, consider it a “freebie” and transition to your message with one of these:
- I don’t really know about that, but what I can say is…
- Let me put that in perspective…
- What most people don’t understand is …
- I think the real issue here is…
Part 3: Types of Interviews
There are many different types of media interviews. Each one should be approached differently:
- Email / online – The reporter sends questions and you have time to think about, write, and revise your answers. Take the opportunity to have someone else review your answers and provide feedback.
- Phone – This conversation gives you an opportunity to have your notes in front of you. Remember that a reporter might be typing your answer. Give him / her the chance to finish before the next question.
- In-person – You have an opportunity to show off your business and give a reporter a tour. Plan out your route and talking points in advance. Make sure your staff is aware and prepared.
- TV / Radio – This will be a quick and powerful interview and may make you the most uncomfortable. Prepare 2-3 points you want to communicate and stick to them. Keep your answers to about 40 seconds. Be aware of your clothes, gestures, and facial expressions.
Part 4: Tricks of the Trade
- There is no such thing as “Off the Record.”
- Never fill silence; you will say something you didn’t want to say.
- Never take an interview from a reporter who calls. Contact your account manager at Slice who will vet and schedule the interview for you.
We do everything we can to help our clients take advantage of their media interview opportunities. We’ve media trained everyone from veteran CEOs to 7-year-olds, and we know the power of preparation.
If you or your executives need media training, contact us for availability.