You only have to look at the recent example of George Entwistle’s disastrous performance on the Today programme, which directly led to his resignation as Director General of the BBC after only 54 days, to know that media interviews can make or break anyone. To be able to convey a strong message to your audience is a skill that needs to be learned.
Top executives may think that media training is not a necessity in running an organization. Yet at First Take our media trainers have lost count of the number of business executives whose credibility took a tumble inside and outside their own organization because they were unable to convey their message well. It is not about just delivering a speech or answering questions, media training is about guaranteeing that you convey your message effectively. You have to ensure that your audience remembers your key message. Below are the top 6 media training tips that will help you control your next interview:
Media Training Tip No. 1: Set Your Goals
Before going inside the interview room, make sure you do your assignment. Mike Paul of MGP & Associates in New York uses the OSTA Attack Plan in every interview. OSTA stands for Objective, Strategy, Tactics and Audience.
Objective: What is the objective of your interview? What message do you want to convey?
Strategy: What strategy do you think is effective in positioning your message in a way that is easily understood by your audience?
Tactics: What techniques are you going to use when delivering your message? There are different types of effective techniques that you can use during an interview and we will discuss in future posts.
Audience: Who is your audience? It is vitally important to identify who your audience will be. The manner of delivering a message to the younger generation is different with the older audience.
Media Training Tip No. 2: Remember that nothing is off the record
All interviews should be recorded. How many politicians, business leaders and celebrities have been criticized severely because of something that they said during an interview? Treat every interview professionally. Some reporters will build a rapport by asking you personal questions. Remember that your answer can be used against you. It is a part of every reporter’s job to make their story interesting and eyecatching. Most of the time, negative words add spice to their story.
Media Training Tip No.3: Stay tracked with the plan
If the interview is off track you have to stop it. You can ask for a break, go to the restroom or ask for a glass of water. If the interview is not flowing according to your plan be proactive enough to bring the interview back to the plan. Remember that your words can be used against you. Therefore, do not let reporters to ruin your credibility by letting them control the flow.
Media Training Tip No. 4: Be mindful of your body language
Human beings are natural critics. Even in a positive interview environment if you look stiff or tense it can impact your message and credibility. Before the interview starts you can stretch your muscles, shake your hands and legs or drink water to make yourself comfortable.
Media Training Tip No. 5: Master how to “Bridge”
Bridging is a popular term and one of the topmost techniques in media trainings. Bridging creates a transition so you can move from one message to another. Brining also helps when a reporter tries to derail you from your message. Phrases below are the perfect example on how to bridge:
- “Before we get off that topic, let me just add…”
- “Let me put that in perspective.”
- “It’s important to remember that…”
Media Training Tip No. 6: Plan your Take-aways
In preparing your interview, identify your building blocks. These are points or facts that you want the reporter and your audience to walk away thinking about. Take aways are the main focus of your interview and should ideally be in your first answer. Choose powerful words that your audience can easily understand.
Finally, an interview is not over when it’s over. Make sure you check the results and reviews of your interview with your press officers if you have them and/or family and friends. Remember to be open to feedback. Take notes and make the necessary improvements so you’ll do even better on your next interview.
Do you have a media interview coming up? Downloading our free Media Interview Preparation Template will really help you focus your thoughts and get you prepared for the interview. Filling it in should take about 10 minutes. If you complete it and return it to us, we will be happy to get back to you ASAP with bespoke tips to help you make the very best impression possible. This is a totally free service.