There are many old adages about the topics to avoid in polite company – politics, religion and race being among them. These rules of etiquette have slipped away in most of society and they don’t necessarily apply to media interviews, especially when it comes to public figures.
Once people achieve celebrity status, it is not unusual for members of the media to ask them questions about their opinions on a wide variety of topics that extend far beyond their art or craft. For example, actors who star in TV shows or movies that center around politics or social issues are especially apt to find themselves facing questions pertaining to the topics addressed by their work. Members of the media may ask actors, music artists and others in the entertainment industry questions about the status of gender issues, race relations, or the state of the entertainment industry. Some artists feel comfortable answering such questions, either because they have gained the knowledge to feel prepared to do so or because they simply want to share their opinions. Others prefer to keep their opinions on such topics to themselves.
Whatever choice is made about sharing thoughts on any sensitive topic, giving forethought to the choice and its potential consequences and effects on the talent’s brand, fan base and position in the entertainment industry will help the talent and his/her team to feel prepared for media interviews. This same consideration should be given to social media posting.
When providing media training for actors and music artists some of the questions we address with the client are these:
- Are there potential benefits to the talent sharing opinions on this topic? If so, do the benefits outweigh the potential negative fallout of the talent discussing this topic?
- How much does the talent want to continue discussing this topic in this interview and future interviews?
- Can the talent handle more probing and pointed questions about the topic and his/her authority on it?
- Does this topic tie into any of the talent’s projects or philanthropic endeavors?
- Could the talent alienate a segment of his/her core audience or fan base by sharing opinions on this topic? If so, is it still worthwhile to share his/her opinions?
Once these questions are answered, we move forward with helping the client to communicate the messages he/she wants to share.
Preparing for questions about sensitive topics prior to media interviews is the best way to create a communication strategy that positions talent well and to protect talent him/her from saying something regrettable, becoming rattled, or derailing a media interview.
To learn more about our media training for actors, music artists or other public figures, call us at 310-479-0217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are other articles you might find interesting:
Media Interview Tips for Entertainers (Actors, Music Artists and Performers)
Prepare for TV Interviews Before You Have One
When you are busy running your business, it can be challenging to take a step back and assess it as a total stranger would do. People often develop their marketing and publicity initiatives from the position of what they want to communicate or accomplish. This is only half of the equation if you want to be successful.
As a media trainer, presentation trainer and pitch coach, my work with every client begins with gaining an understanding of who they are, what they represent, what they want to communicate and where they want to go. Then, we look at what people (such as customers, investors, employees and media) will want from them, which enables me to help them shape their messages and refine their delivery.
Six Essentials to Make Your Business Appealing to Media and Customers
1. Novelty: Be Fresh and Original
People are generally more protective of their dollars and hours than they had been years ago: what captures attention are products, services and ideas that are inspired, not knock-offs or very slightly modified versions of someone else’s creation. Develop products, services and messages that feel like they’re bubbling out of you. The world is waiting for your inspired inventions and ideas.
2. Invigoration: Bonus if You make it Fun
As a society, we have daily many reminders of how serious life can be, so we gravitate toward people who seem to truly enjoy giving us the products or services we want or need. We like to watch people who seem to light up when they talk about their creations or ideas, and we often like them even more when they provide us with an experience that’s invigorating or fun. Feeling motivated, challenged, awakened and enlightened can be fun for a lot of people. How can you create a fun or invigorating experience for the people whose lives your business touches?
3. Direction: Provide Road Maps
People don’t want to feel that they’re falling short or not doing enough, or that they’re being challenged to arrive at a destination without knowing how to get there. They want you to help them get from where they are to where they want to go: they want road maps. This is true of the solutions you provide as well as the messages you delivery.
4. Inclusion: Something for Everyone
Although you have a primary target audience and you’re not trying to be all things to all people, you can provide something for everyone who wants what you have to offer. Even people who can’t afford your products or services can take a piece of your brand with them in the form of a free sample, a captivating photo or inspiring words that you might use in a tagline. Think of how Nike’s “Just Do It” has motivated people and encouraged people to move forward with challenging projects or business launches that have nothing to do with athletic shoes. What can you give to everyone who comes into contact with you or your business?
5. Authenticity: No Wizard behind the Curtain
While you can outsource some things, if you outsource your blogging and social media posting, or you hire someone to write your website text, make sure the message truly reflects your thoughts and your tone. What you don’t want to have happen is for someone to pull back the curtain to reveal the fraudulent little old man at the controls, like Toto did in “The Wizard of Oz”. People want to know who you really are, especially if they’re going to do business with you or refer others to you. The more authentic you are in all your communications, the more people will want to spend their valuable time with you or reading your e-mails, social media posts or watching your videos.
6. Integrity: Stand behind Everything
While you may have heard this over and over again for years, integrity is imperative. Build your business on a solid foundation and stand behind not only your products and services, but also your staff. Do everything you can to live up to your mission statement, customer service guarantees and other messages you disseminate. It will pay off in more good word-of-mouth mentions than you could pay for.
People sometimes become so fixated on what their competitors are doing that they get desperate and resort to unethical, and even fraudulent, practices to get the inside scoop on them.
While it’s good to know who your competitors are and what they offer so you can differentiate yourself, it’s not a great idea to copy what they do. What you need to know about competitors to differentiate yourself is usually available online.
Don’t try to extract confidential information from competitors by posing as a potential client.
This is what NOT to do to conduct research on your competitors. Don’t call them pretending to be a client, or the representative of a client, in order to attain information about their pricing and to access materials they would not share with a competitor. It’s dishonest, fraudulent and, in many cases, against the law.
Cornell University Law School’s website contains easy-to-read information on this law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1708
Here is an example from my own recent experience: a woman who used to be a TV producer called and asked me about media training for her “client”. We’ll call her Ms. Shady. Under the guise of looking to hire a media trainer for her client, Ms. Shady asked about my prices and dug for details about my training process. A few weeks later, I noticed that she and her business partner had created a website and are offering media training services. Several sentences on her website look as if she copied them from the quote I had sent her and then simply rearranged the wording. I highly doubt all of this was a coincidence, especially because when I checked her domain name registration, it showed that she had purchased her domain name a few months previous, so it seems that her plans for her firm were in place before she called me.
Using the example of Ms. Shady, here are several reasons why this deceptive practice is a bad idea:
- If you work in an advisory capacity with clients, your ethics will matter to those who have ethics.
Would your clients be impressed if they found out that you lie to get what you want? Probably not.
Could your clients find out that you lie to get what you want? Probably.
Lying to get what you want is generally not a great idea. People whose creativity does not lift them above lying probably shouldn’t be advising anyone on anything.
- You want your competitors to respect you.
Sometimes people will ask your competitors what they know about you. Referencing Ms. Shady once again, if anyone asked me about her, I would feel compelled to share the truth: she told me she was interested in my services in order to gain confidential information. It appears that she was doing so deceptively/fraudulently to gather competitive information.
Competitors can sometimes be a source of referrals.
There are times when your competitors will be too busy to take on a client or they come across someone who is not the right fit for them, and they may want to refer this person to a competitor. I happen to do this quite often. Using the example of Ms. Shady, do you think I would ever refer her business? I definitely would not.
- Don’t waste your competitors’ time and income potential.
Respect people’s time on earth and the value of their time at work. Every minute of your competitor’s time that you waste having him or her believe there is a potential deal in motion is time you take away from that person to do something productive in business, with family or for the world. There is an opportunity cost to everything.
To build a strong, ethical brand, focus on what you have to offer and how you want to conduct business.
- Differentiate yourself.
Instead of trying to copy competitors, think about what you have to offer that is unique and special and authentically your creation. This is especially true if you are a service provider. Trying to replicate the way another person provides a service will often backfire because you will probably not have the same education, life experience, personality and sensibilities as the competitor you are trying to copy.
People who feel so insecure about their level of knowledge on their subject matter or processes that they need to replicate others should re-think their readiness to enter the market.
- Make business ethics a part of your brand.
Most large corporations and many small companies have standards of behavior and codes of ethics. Your code of ethics becomes a part of your brand, internally and externally, whether you intend it to or not.
- Use your personal experiences and life influences to create your own brand.
The most creative and useful services and products are often created by combining elements from several influences. Your influences will not be exactly the same as those of your competitors.
Instead of closely copying competitors, be the best version of yourself. Create your own processes and products. Focus on serving the people who want to work with you because of who you are and what you have to offer. The more you do this, the more distinct and powerful your brand will become.
To your personal brand and success!
1. Above all else, get your employees/contractors trained to reflect and embody your company’s brand and work ethic, or nothing will be done to your standards.
2. Every promotional piece of content you put out into the world should have a strategy behind it.
3. Who you know right now is not as important as knowing how to present yourself and your work so the right people want to know you.
4. When shaping your communication, always think about what’s in it for them (whichever audience you are addressing — investors, employees, clients, press, etc.). If you are addressing team members, you might also need to consider that they believe they contribute and deserve.
5. Remember that wherever you are, and in whatever situation you find yourself, you are representing your brand and possibly attracting opportunities. Present yourself accordingly.
I recently updated my blog post on “Choose Your Communication Wisely”. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link: https://expertmediatraining.com/choose-your-communication-method-wisely/
Here are links to a few other articles you might enjoy:
Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication
How To Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips for Effective Presentations
Prepare for Media Interviews BEFORE You Book One
Frequently Asked Questions about Media Training
With all the options we have for communicating today, choosing the right method is more important than ever. It’s easy to become overly reliant on one form of communication, but as Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The medium is the message.” People sometimes assume that the communication method you choose in any given situation is a reflection of what you think of them and the level of importance you assign to the message.
Have you ever received a negative response to an email that you intended to be neutral or positive? Or, have you sent a text thinking it would be quicker than a phone call or email, but what resulted was an hour of texting messages back and forth?
A colleague called me, distraught because a client had let her firm go after receiving an email that she’d sent. Apparently, this client was demanding more from her and her firm than they were contracted to receive, so she sent the client an email that clearly outlined the parameters of their services and set very strong boundaries. When she read the email to me, I could understand how, without the benefit of her kind voice, the email could have been construed as harsh and off-putting. This was a perfect example of how the wrong method of communication can destroy a relationship.
Here are some criteria to help you choose your communication methods wisely:
1. Level of sensitivity of information to be communicated
I listed this first because this is the most important criterion to consider. If what you have to communicate is a sensitive issue, could be misinterpreted in any way, or requires a high level of security, consider communicating by phone or in person.
Emails and texts can easily be misinterpreted without the nonverbal and aural cues you can provide in person or on the phone. Phone calls and in-person meetings also provide you with the benefit of being able to immediately respond to any questions or address potential misunderstandings. With emails and texts, you run a greater risk of the recipient overanalyzing or misinterpreting your communication or missing it completely.
For more neutral communication, emails and texts are sometimes best.
What is your relationship with the person with whom you are communicating? Is this person a client, new business prospect, vendor, friend, or loved one? Your relationship greatly affects how your message will be received in relation to the communication method you choose. For example, most people would probably not want you to text them with a high-level new business offer, but your vendor would probably welcome a text alerting him or her that you’re running late for a meeting.
3. Communication method the recipient prefers
Some people prefer texts, some prefer emails, some prefer to talk on the phone, and some prefer to meet in person: the other party’s preferences could come into play when deciding how you would like to communicate. However, your business practices and life choices can also influence how you choose to communicate.
If you are communicating with your vendors or your staff, you will sometimes be the one to decide which communication method will be used, but it still would be good to consider the other criteria listed here.
In your personal life, you might choose to limit texts or emails. For example, when making plans with one or two friends, I will generally do it by phone because coordinating schedules is easier when we can look at our calendars and immediately book a date. Some people communicate with their friends primarily via text. It’s all a matter of personal choice (and, perhaps, generation).
4. Your preferred communication method
Do you shine during in-person meetings? If so, try to set up in-person meetings when important matters will be discussed. However, know that many people don’t want to spend the time to meet in person initially, so you may want to sharpen your phone and email-writing skills.
Are your texts tweet-worthy? Use your way with whittling down words and emojis to your advantage, with the people who will appreciate your texting skills.
Be flexible with your communication methods to avoid possible negative consequences. For example, I know a woman who likes to have sensitive conversations in person, but there have been times when her unwillingness to have such conversations by phone has created rifts in relationships because too much time lapsed before an in-person meeting could be arranged.
You can make it clear with your vendors and friends how you’d like for them to reach you. To catch up on life with friends, I prefer to have phone conversations if we can’t meet in person. Long emails feel like work, not pleasure, to me.
5. Amount of information to be shared
If you have a lot of information to be shared, consider putting it in writing, especially if it’s something people will need to refer to again in the future. If you are sending a very long, content-dense email, consider also attaching it as a downloadable document in case the recipient wants to keep it outside of their email system. If you have a quick update to share, consider a text or email.
If what you are communicating is urgent, consider how you can reach the recipient most quickly in the way that he or she will receive your message. Reality check: most people don’t consider email urgent. Phone and text are generally the best ways to communicate urgent messages. If it’s extremely important and urgent, consider phone, text and email.
I remember receiving a call from an editor friend who was annoyed that she was waiting at a restaurant for one of our mutual friends. She later told me that she missed the email from the friend who was canceling plans at the last minute. This is an example of a situation where a phone call would have definitely been in order.
7. Efficiency of the communication process
When you need a short response and your matter is not urgent, email or text can be best. With very busy people who may not check emails and texts very often throughout the day, sometimes a quick phone call is most efficient.
If your communication is going to precipitate a lot of back-and-forth communication, consider which communication method will be most efficient. When coordinating schedules. If you’re not using an online scheduling system, texting can take longer than a quick phone call.
Take a moment to think through the entire process and organize your communication accordingly. For example, you may decide to email a document, follow up with a phone-call to alert your client to review and then set up a time to discuss it in detail.
Here’s a quick-reference list to keep on hand:
1. When delivering delicate information, pick up the phone or meet in person.
2. When you must convey a lot of detailed information, email may be best.
3. When sending directions, phone numbers, and similar information, you may want to text and/or email.
4. If your message is time-sensitive, consider using two forms of communication, such as an email and a phone call or text (depending on your recipient).
5. Snail mail is still good for a personal, handwritten note, like a thank you note.
6. If you have something extremely important to discuss, consider doing it in person. I’m amazed when I hear of people breaking up via text. So cold!
7. Skype and other video conferencing programs are great communication options. I even conduct some of my media training sessions with overseas clients via video conference.
8. As I’ve written in previous posts, don’t put anything in writing (email/text/social media) that you wouldn’t want plastered on the front page of the New York Times.
Here are links to other articles and information that may interest you:
How to Avoid Using Jargon in Media Interviews and Communications
Learn about our Confident and Clear Communication Program (audios and exercises).
If you decide to use Periscope, learn how to use it as well as you can. I don’t use Periscope because that’s not where my clients are, but I’ve tuned into others’ Periscope broadcasts and observed some of the problems that can occur. I’ve shared a link below from an article from Social Media Week, and I’ll add my tips that apply to just about any public broadcast:
1. Have someone online with you during your broadcast to quickly handle negative comments from trolls, so you can focus on communicating your message. Ideally this person should log on from a separate device and let you know you’re broadcasting.
2. Test your technology, camera set-up and lighting BEFORE your broadcast, so you don’t have to think about it or talk about while you’re on air.
3. Record your broadcast. Even if you want people to tune in live, for whatever reasons you may have, it’s good to record broadcasts because you may be able to use this as content in another way in the future.
4. Prepare. Give the content of your broadcast the same preparation and planning that you would an interview or public speech. The casual nature of social media can tempt people into oversharing or thinking they can just wing it. This may work for some people, but think first about how your broadcasts will reflect and affect your brand image.
To read the Social Media Week article, click here.
Here are some links to other articles on this media training and presentation training blog that you might find interesting are:
Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication
Prepare for Media Interviews BEFORE You Book One
Video Engagement Tips from a Media Trainer and PR Expert
How To Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips for Effective Presentations
For most people, becoming a great communicator is a lifelong endeavor. One of the best ways to become a better communicator is to become a better listener. To be a good listener, you must improve your ability to concentrate and refrain from hastily jumping to conclusions about what others are saying or asking of you. You must be able to concentrate fully on what another person is saying in order to retain and process the information.
The best interviewers are astute listeners and observers. They are able to pick up on the smallest bits of information and the most minute cues (both verbal and nonverbal), to lead them to the next insightful question or comment.
The best interviewees are also excellent listeners and observers. They do not just shut up and wait for their turn to talk: they allow the interviewer to complete his or her statement or question before responding. They may even give themselves a second to take in what they just heard before responding.
Even if you think you know what an interviewer is asking of you or stating, you must listen closely to be sure you are not simply responding on auto-pilot, which is a temptation, especially for people who are frequently interviewed by the media surrounding the same topics.
If you want to improve your listening skills so you can be more effective in media interviews, or in almost any area of your life, make it a priority.
Here are 10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life:
1. Watch one minute of your favorite TV show or movie. Then, repeat the dialogue to see if you can match what was said. If you can master a line or two, try to do this with longer segments. This exercise can help you improve your ability to concentrate and your memory.
2. Watch a longer segment of a TV show or movie, and then try to sum up the meaning of what transpired. Then, watch segment again and see if you agree with your own summation or if you feel that you missed some important information or nonverbal cues. You can also think about whether or not you made inaccurate assumptions about the conversation due to snap judgments that you made. This exercise can help you assess your comprehension abilities and your level of open-mindedness.
3. In daily conversations, ask more open-ended questions than you may be used to asking, and make sure your mind does not wander while the other person is talking.
4. If you have someone who can practice with you, practice repeating what your partner has said. Use an app on your phone or an audio recorder to record what the person said and what you repeated back. Then, you can listen to both parts of the conversation to see what you missed. If you find yourself missing a lot of what is said in a conversation, try to identify where your focus was when the other person was speaking. Was your mind wandering?
5. In conversations, pay attention to your body language when you are listening. Are you doing anything that might make the person who is speaking feel rushed, such as looking at your watch, sighing heavily, or moving your feet toward the door? Could any of your body language or facial expressions indicate that you are judging or dismissing the person who is speaking? Setting up a video camera to record yourself during conversations would be beneficial, but the presence of a camera can make people behave unnaturally and to mask their typical communication behaviors.
6. Try to avoid interrupting others. There are times that you may need to interrupt in order to ask for clarification in order to keep up with what someone is saying. However, it is good to get in the habit of listening until the person who is speaking has completed his or her though.
7. If you ask a question that takes the speaker off topic, help him or her to get back on track by saying something like, “You were talking about your visit to Tokyo. Tell me more about that.”
8. Pay attention to nonverbal cues. Listening well encompasses the keen observation of the speaker’s body language, from head to toe. In phone interviews and conversations, listen for auditory cues, like lengthy pauses and tone of voice. Nonverbal cues can tell you when someone needs more clarification, wants to move on to another topic, or feels a certain way about the conversation.
9. Be empathetic. Putting yourself in the position of the person who is speaking will help you to understand his or her perspective. In the case of a media interview, if you understand that the person interviewing you is trying to do the best job possible and to give the readers, listeners or viewers the information or entertainment that they are seeking, you are more likely to deliver an exceptional interview.
10. Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Make it easy on yourself by turning your phone ringer off, closing the door to your office, or doing anything you can do to be fully present and focused on the conversation or interview that is taking place.
Being a great listener begins with caring about what others have to say.
If you enjoyed this article on 10 Easy Ways to Become a Better Listener in Media Interviews and in Life, here are links to some other articles you might find interesting:
Body Language Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews and Meetings
Media Training Resources – This page contains links to communication studies and videos:
Media Interview Tips for Entertainers from a Los Angeles-Based Media Trainer and PR Expert
There is a reason you may be seeing lots of articles about the overuse of jargon. It’s especially important to avoid using jargon in media interviews.
What would you think or feel if you heard this statement from a company spokesperson?
“We’re incentivizing our brand evangelists to virally spread our high-level content by gifting them with digital aviation rewards. It’s this outside-the-box thinking that yields us much more than the low-hanging fruit our competitors pull down, which is mission-critical given our current bandwidth.”
“Ummm…what?” might be your answer.
It would probably be clearer and easier to listen to this statement:
“We created a program that allows fans of our content to share it and earn airline points. It’s creative thought like this that’s helping us to grow more quickly than our competitors, which is especially important with our current staff and resources.”
Simple and clear language is usually the most effective way to communicate in almost any situation. It’s best to avoid using jargon in media interviews because your audience may consist of a variety of people with a range of knowledge. Generally, you will want your message to be well understood by the vast majority of people who will hear it or read it.
Jargon is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows:
“Jargon – (noun) – the language used for a particular activity or by a particular group of people.”
The use of jargon seems to be increasing, especially as the use of technology and Internet spreads. Some jargon is useful, but this is usually within the confines of people who work within a specific industry. Because jargon is often used with people of varying backgrounds, it is often misunderstood.
People may use jargon for several reasons:
• They don’t know how to explain something in simpler terms.
• They want to appear more eloquent or knowledgeable than they are.
• They are afraid that if they use more plain language people will assume they don’t know their industry’s jargon.
• Or, they are unaware that they are doing so.
In media interviews or presentations, before you use jargon, consider the knowledge base of your audience and their frame of reference. If you are accustomed to using a lot of jargon that is specific to your industry and you are addressing people outside of your industry, think about the alternate meanings your words may have to them.
What happens when people don’t understand your jargon:
• They may stop focusing on what you’re saying as their minds fixate on trying to figure out the meanings of the terms or words they didn’t understand.
• They may feel that your message is not meant for them, so they may tune you out.
• Or, they may feel that you’re trying to speak above their level, which may cause them to resent you.
How to know when to use jargon. Ask yourself:
• Is the jargon the best way to communicate your thought or to represent an object, concept or process?
• Who is your audience? Will your audience understand the jargon you are using? If not, would learning the meaning of the jargon help your audience members? If so, are you able to define the jargon for them?
Here are some ways to catch yourself using jargon, so you can curb it when needed:
• Set a digital recorder near you when you’re on the phone or meeting with people. Play it back and listen closely for the unnecessary or excessive use of jargon.
• Review your written correspondence to see how much jargon you’ve included. You could even keep a list of jargon that you don’t want to use and search your documents for the words or terms you want to omit.
How to know if you are using jargon:
• Are the words you are using NOT in the dictionary? If not, they may be jargon or they may be made up.
• Are many of the nouns you use actually verbs that have been modified to become nouns?
If you enjoyed this article on How to Avoid Using Jargon in Media Interviews and Communications, you may want to read these articles on our blog:
Acronyms and Abbreviations in Media Interviews and Speeches – blog post by Media Trainer Lisa Elia
How to Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips to Make Effective Presentations – blog post by Presentation Trainer and Media Trainer Lisa Elia
Humor, Hubris and Hiccups – blog post by Presentation Trainer and Media Trainer Lisa Elia
Our word choices in interviews, speeches, presentations, and even casual conversations, say more about us than most people may realize. Many people undermine themselves without even knowing it.
Have you ever heard the owner of a small business say, “We’re just a small…” or an entrepreneur say, “I’m just a…”? The words “just a” immediately diminish their accomplishments.
I often hear stay-at-home mothers undermine themselves similarly, saying, “I’m just a mom.” This minimizes the importance of what they do. Instead they could say, “I’m a full-time mother,” and leave it at that. Or, they could say, “I’m taking time to focus on my family full-time right now,” which may feel more comfortable for women who plan to return to the workforce.
Other ways that people may undermine themselves is to talk about their perceived limitations as business people. People say things like, “I’m so disorganized,” or “I’m a mess,” or “I’m overwhelmed.” All of these statements make one appear out of control, incompetent and/or not very reliable.
Undermining statements like the ones above are a form of negative self-talk. In addition to diminishing your accomplishments, negative self-talk can take the form of putting yourself down or not accepting compliments.
Remember that everything you say to others, you are reinforcing in your own mind. Your brain cannot help but to hear those self-deprecating words and, more than likely, you will internalize them. Don’t say anything about yourself that you don’t want to be true.
Eliminating negative self-talk is important for anyone. It is not productive, it is disempowering, and it reinforces beliefs you don’t want to hold about yourself.
Get used to confidently stating what you do without diminishing or minimizing yourself or your accomplishments in any way.
If you’d like to become a more powerful communicator and make more conscious word choices, my Confident and Clear Communication program provides lessons in audio recordings you can listen to anywhere, anytime, as well as PDFs you can download or read online.
The best media interview guests are those that have deep knowledge of their subject matter and understand how to talk about their topic in the context of current events, in an engaging manner.
This may sound like a tall order, but if you break it down, you can create a system to keep yourself media ready every day. This blog post addresses why you should know your facts if you want to book more interviews.
If you are representing a product or service, know the details of it. You should know exactly how it works, whom it serves, how much it costs, the greatest benefits it delivers, how it compares to similar products and services, and other details.
If you are a subject matter expert, stay aware of academic or institutional studies that relate to topics you discuss. You could be asked questions about them, but you may also find it useful to reference studies to support your responses to questions.
Stay abreast of trends and shifts in your industry. Read the journals or trade publications that pertain to your industry. This may be obvious for people who are positioning themselves as experts. For others, such as athletes who may want to become sportscasters, demonstrating that they have an understanding of the sports industry will position them well. An actor who may want to become a spokesperson for a product line or a cause can position himself or herself for such opportunities by introducing relevant topics in media interviews.
The morning of an interview, scan the news so you will be prepared if an interviewer refers to a major world event. Think about how any of the world events might affect your industry or your projects. A good journalist may ask you how a specific event will affect your customers or fans. If you can add an interesting perspective to current conversations taking place in the world, you are more likely to book more interviews.
Be ready to talk about more than just yourself or your products or services. Even if most of the questions that journalists ask are about you, a media interview provides you with an opportunity to share more of your mind and heart with the world.
If you go into an interview without knowing the facts of your business or projects, you could be caught off-guard and appear to be uninformed or lacking credibility. This could throw the entire interview and damage your reputation. On the other hand, if you prepare well for every interview, you are more likely to be an engaging, confident guest or interviewee with whom the media will enjoy working.
For more media training tips that will help you to book more interviews, visit these links on our site:
Register for our newsletter.
Frequently Asked Questions about Media Training
Media Training Tips for Actors, Music Artists and Performers
Media Interview Checklist from a Los Angeles Media Trainer
Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication
How to Create an Online Press Room That the Media Will Love
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