If you’ve been reading our blog you will already know the importance of having your message fine tuned before the interview starts. A top athlete wouldn’t dream of entering a competition unless they were at peak fitness. It’s the same for you as an interviewee. You need to ensure that your message is ‘match fit’.
As we teach in our media training courses, part of your preparation for any interview should be understanding that effective communication has several elements. If you appreciate and incorporate each one of these elements you are well on the way to a successful media interview. They are:
• The Sender – The person who is the source of the information. In this case the sender is YOU!
• The Receiver – Although it’s very difficult to remember during the high pressure situation of a media interview, your receiver is your audience, NOT the interviewer.
• The Content of the Message – This is your key message – what you want to convey to your audience. It could be information on an issue or the results of research.
• The Medium– TV, Print or Radio. Each of these implies slight variations on how your message should be delivered.
With those elements in mind here’s some simple tips to help you get your message ‘match fit’
1. Define your agenda. What is your purpose of the interview? You should have a clear understanding of your interview objective.
2. Prepare your main points and be sure to limit it to an absolute maximum of three. In most interviews if you get your audience to remember just two points you are doing very well.
3. State your most important message first and be sure to use “catchy” words that are easily remembered.
4. If appropriate, be controversial! This will grab more attention.
5. Always state your main message in positive terms even when you are being faced with the most negative situation. Always practice using positive word choices.
6. Avoid big, complicated words when speaking. You won’t look clever, you’ll just seem like a pompous individual. Speak in lay terms. Remember that you are not talking to experts, but your audience at home.
7. A good speaker/media communicator is also a good editor. If you don’t edit your message first then someone will edit it for you and the result might be unfavorable to you. If you could write the headlines what would be the first three sentences in your story? Always examine your message before the interview and ask yourself ‘how can I make this shorter, simpler, and less complex?’
Brainstorming with your team members or friends and family can help to sharpen your message and create a game plan so you can use the interview to your advantage. All media interviews are a great opportunity for free publicity. Get it right and you will create new fans, customers or sympathisers. Get it wrong and it can, in the worst cases, destroy reputations. So make sure you are ready whenever you step into every media 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.
In First Take’s media training courses our experts expand on these tips, introduce you to many more and get you practicing them. Our trainers analyse your performances and give constructive feedback so you’ll be ready to deal with the media.