How to prepare for a media interview
You are told you must speak on behalf of your company, but do you know how to prepare for a media interview? The other big question is will it be a media conference with a lot of journalists or just an interview with one reporter?
The first thing people usually worry about is knowing what to say but depending on the type of interview and whether it is radio, newspaper, or television there are different key skills you need to have.
Here is a quick guide.
1. Know your key messages
What should I say in a media interview?
The key is being prepared. Most companies and organisations will have approved key messages that you should familiarise yourself with. Secondly, think about the type of questions a journalist is likely to ask and how you will respond.
The strong advice from our team who has worked as journalists and now in public relations is NEVER say “no comment”. People mistakenly think it is an easy way out but it can make you appear guilty of hiding something.
A media interview is your chance to set the record straight and in the case of positive news it is a valuable way to promote your business.
How do you pivot in a media interview?
Journalists are not afraid of asking difficult questions so it’s vital you know how to respond to tough questions. Watch politicians and you will regularly see them use what are called bridging techniques – it is an interview skill that our Adoni Media team teaches clients as part of our Media Training.
2. Know your audience
When preparing for an interview you need to consider your audience.
How do you talk in a media interview?
The language you use in the boardroom is very different to how you should speak to the media.
One of the best pieces of advice is avoid jargon as it can confuse your audience. Instead, use relevant and easy-to-understand facts and statistics and talk about what will interest your clients and customers.
3. Know the media
Take the time to understand the media, how it works, who the journalist is and type of media they work for – tv, radio, newspaper or online. It is important to research what stories they normally cover and what interest they have in you, your business, and your industry.
What are the different types of media interviews?
Newspaper and radio interviews are mostly done over the phone.
Increasingly – especially since COVID – television reporters may ask to do a virtual interview using Zoom, Skype, or Teams.
In these cases, the interviews are one-on-one, meaning it is just you and the journalist.
For television you could do an interview with a single reporter, or you could find yourself doing a media conference. If the story is interesting enough journalists from television, radio, and print might attend so it is important to know where to look and what to do and not to do. You can find more advice on holding a press conference here.
Adoni Media is a leader in Australia in delivering practical and effective media training preparing spokespeople and industry leaders. Media Training teaches the skills and techniques needed to control interview situations with practical on-camera Q&A sessions and training scenarios relevant to you and your industry.
To build your confidence and learn the skills to be a clear and concise spokesperson contact us.