how to prepare for a media interview

Five top tips to prepare for a media interview

May 20, 2016

Top tips when preparing to be interviewed by the media.

When interviewed live, you have no second chance. Critics are waiting to pounce on any errors or weaknesses. The repercussions of a poor media interview can be huge.

Usually you don’t have a huge amount of rehearsal time before most media interviews.

But without proper preparation, media interviews are a high risk event which can damage personal and corporate reputations.

You can reduce the risks by having a dress rehearsal.

Use our five top checks to prepare for a media interview

  1. Road test your messaging

  2. Dial up the pressure

  3. Role play different interview styles

  4. Test your proofs and soundbites

  5. Practise

1. Media interview preparation – Road test the messaging.

Although your carefully crafted messaging may read well, how does it sound when spoken out loud?

Very often, messaging in a press release is the result of a committee decision that doesn’t make for natural language.

One CEO we worked with needed to stop speaking like he was reading from the Report and Accounts, and recapture his natural character in interviews.

By Role-playing the results interview gave him a chance to sense-check and tweak key points and phrases after hearing how he sounded.
I want better media interviews

2. Media interview preparation – Dial up the pressure.

You may have a detailed three-page Q&A, but handling difficult questions in a real interview situation is a talent.  The way you respond can be just as important as your actual answer.

As well as being able to respond calmly and confidently to tough questions, you should rehearse how to ‘bridge’ back to positive messages. This will keep the conversation under your control.
I want better media interviews

3. Media interview preparation – Role-play different interviewing styles.

Journalists come in various guises – the very knowledgeable, the newbie, the aggressive questioner and the flatterer. You need to prepare for the full range of scenarios.

Can you adjust your use of jargon and technical detail to match the knowledge levels of the journalist? If you are a Cambridge professor by background, you may find it hard to keep things simple.

And how do you respond to extended silences or a pretty face – do you feel the need / wish to provide more information and stray off the prepared path?

That’s where your professional media training kicks in

4. Media interview preparation – Test your proof points and soundbites.

Under the pressure of the media interview, do you reach for the proof points as evidence for your assertions?

Do you remember to sum up your arguments with carefully crafted soundbites?

Whether those proof points and soundbites take the form of stories, facts or figures, your ability to bring them to mind and deliver them smoothly will make all the difference to your credibility on the day.

5. Media interview preparation – Practice breeds confidence.

When the first results interview for a FTSE 100 client is a 7.15am phone call with Reuters, you want to feel and sound confident from the very start, not by the sixth interview over lunch.

A thorough road-testing of your messaging and stress-testing of your performance under pressure will make all the difference between a strong, confident interviewee and a mediocre one.
I want better media interviews


What do you do next?

With all the time and effort that goes into organising and preparing for a media interview, the best companies invest in expert media training.

Even if they are very experienced, the best executives always rehearse, just as an experienced actor would.

After all, in the words of Shakespeare, ‘All the world’s a stage’…

 

Bring in the experts

Whether you are in the middle of a crisis, preparing for a specific media interview or simply polishing your media handing skills ahead of your full-year results, bring in the experts.

All of Our media trainers – all former journalists – advise FTSE100 CEOs, global corporates and top executives on every type of media interview. We use tailored role play and on-camera coaching to ensure that you perform at your best under pressure.

For more information, click here, speak to Louise Angus on +44 20 7018 0922 or email her at louise@nullbenjaminball.com.

I want better media interviews

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