Talking to a reporter is dramatically different from chatting with your pals about business at a golf outing. Your friends probably don’t have an agenda, a deadline or an editor to please. And your conversations won’t be aired in public for others to comment on.
It’s important to take care when talking with reporters to ensure you are positioned correctly. What’s more, treating reporters with respect will help you establish a relationship that could turn into future media opportunities.
Here are some tips for making the most of your time with a reporter:
- Be prepared. Know what you want to tell the reporter and be ready with relevant examples, references or statics that support your point.
- Be punctual and available. Reporters work on tight schedules. If you are respectful of their time constraints, you will get the nod when they need another source for a story in your field.
- Be helpful. Assisting a reporter, even when you will not be quoted in an article, will be remembered. This includes providing information or contacts for an article.
- Speak in simple, quotable language. The goal of the interview is to connect with the reporter and convey your story. Touch base during the interview to make sure you and the reporter are on the same page.
- Tell the truth. Thanks to the internet, facts can be checked with a couple of clicks. Not being truthful can completely change the tone of an article.
- Enthusiasm is contagious. Make sure your energy comes through your voice especially in phone interviews. Standing and gesturing while speaking will help you do this.
Finally, learn from the experts…politicians. They are pros when it comes to sticking to the message and getting their points across.