Preparing yourself or your team for media interviews includes understanding how to create and maintain good relationships with members of the media. Over the years, I’ve interviewed members of the media from outlets that include The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Clear Channel Radio and many others. Here are some tips based on what they shared.
Let relationships develop over time.
Like friendships, some of your media relationships will be closer than others, and they develop over time. In their excitement over getting a live editor or producer on the phone or meeting one in person, some people will overestimate the relationship and assume that now they’re friends, buddies…amigos. If this sound like you, take a step back. Think of one of your close friends. When you met this person, did you glom onto him or her the first time you spoke or did you chat for a bit, establish common ground and let the relationship grow from there? Allow members of the media to get accustomed to you and to want to hear from you.
Giving back to the community in various ways has always been important to me, especially when it comes to education. Last Thursday I visited Ánimo Leadership Charter High School, where I made a presentation about my work and career path to become a media trainer and presentation trainer. This was all done through Youth Business Alliance, an organization that connects people in the business world with local schools to expose students to a variety of careers and advice they might not have access to otherwise.
I was impressed with the depth of the students’ questions and their willingness to participate in the practice college interviews I conducted to give them a feel for the work I do as a trainer. Of the two students who volunteered for the practice interviews, one wants to study aeronautical engineering and the other wants to pursue criminal justice because she’s passionate about protecting individuals’ rights when dealing with the judicial system. Encouraging and guiding students like this was a true pleasure.
If you’re interested in speaking or getting involved with Youth Business Alliance in other ways, visit https://www.youthbizalliance.com/speakers
Several months ago, I was hired to provide media training for the family of the Bella Twins, stars of the E! Entertainment TV show, “Total Divas”. While the twins, Brie and Nikki, are accustomed to being in the spotlight, their mother Kathy and brother JJ were less so. As I prepared them for their inaugural trip down a red carpet, which was to be at the ESPY Awards, I made sure to ask them the many prying questions that members of the media might ask about the Brie and Nikki, among other things.
Part of our training session was included in last night’s episode of Total Divas. As with most TV interviews, you have no control over what finally airs. The link below is to a very small portion of the training session. As you can see, JJ’s responses to my questions were entertaining, but if he used them in an actual media interview, he could have led the conversation down an unintended path. Fortunately, he listened and made adjustments, as the best clients do.