Congratulations…you scored a media interview! Now how will you prepare for your big opportunity?
The first step is to figure out what result you want to achieve. Do you want the reporter to know about a new product, a decision that will change the direction of your company or a service that sets you apart from competitors? Be clear about what you want to focus on and the language you will use to do it.
Anticipate questions you will likely be asked and practice delivering clear, concise answers. The easier it is for a reporter to understand and capture your answers, the more likely it is that your story will be reported accurately. Talking in circles, using vague language or insider terms only confuses people and works against your goal of getting your story out to a broad audience.
Be ready for the worst. Identify in advance the most uncomfortable question a reporter might ask you and prepare a reply. In some cases the reply might be as simple as, “It’s our policy not to release confidential information.” Even practicing that response is helpful because it will prevent you from defaulting to saying “no comment.” The goal is to engage the reporter, be helpful and build a relationship that might result in future media opportunities. Saying “no comment” is more like building a wall than a bridge to the future.
Tactically there are a few things you can do to make the interview go smoothly:
- Keep a glass of water handy. Talking non-stop is tiring for you vocal cords.
- Avoid eating dairy before the interview. Dairy makes your mouth salivate more and makes it harder for the reporter to understand what you are saying.
- Stand when you speak and use gestures. The energy from your actions will be conveyed through your voice.
- Practice. Do a dry run with someone who is only slightly familiar with what you do. They will easily spot the holes in your story and where the language is confusing.
It is exciting to score a media interview but it is even more exciting when you see the story you want to tell conveyed by a competent reporter who captures your enthusiasm.