What You Need to Know Before a Media Interview

There’s an old video of The Bob Newhart Show that every media trainer worth her salt plays before the session starts. In it, Bob Newhart plays a Chicago psychologist named Bob Hartley, who has been invited as a guest on the fictional Good Morning Chicago television show. All through the episode, Bob’s friends give him lots of good advice about how to prepare but he ignores it. All of it. You know what happens next. The interview is a disaster. Things go off the rails almost immediately in the most hilarious way. But of course if you’re the one being interviewed, you wouldn’t find it funny at all. So what can you do to prepare for an interview? Here are three important tips that you can use to make sure your interview goes off without a hitch. #1 Take the time to prepare Review the reporter’s recent work to get a feel for how they approach their job. Think about the questions they might ask and how you will answer those. Is there something difficult they may bring up? You aren’t going to be able to hide from sticky issues, especially in this day and age of 24/7 news cycles and information at the touch of a button. Be sure to figure out how you will address tough stuff. #2 Think through what you want the reporter (and the reporter’s audience) to know A news interview isn’t a one-way street. Sure the reporter asks the questions but you absolutely should have an idea of what it is you want to say – your key messages. Start by thinking about what three things you want the reporter to know about you, your company and your products or services. Just three. More than that and you’ll be fumbling around trying to think of the 25 things you wanted to say and not be able to get anything relevant out. #3 Practice your delivery There’s nothing worse than hearing someone repeatedly stumble through message after message. It becomes like some kind of slow-motion car wreck that the audience watches unfold in front of them. No longer are they listening to the words. Instead they are focused on how uncomfortable the situation is for all involved. Avoid that by practicing your delivery. It doesn’t have to be all that formal. You don’t have to stand in front of a mirror and recite it. But you do need to be sure you have your messages – and their delivery – committed to memory. Interested in learning more about how Ayers Public Relations can help you prepare for you next interview, presentation or testimony? Contact us today.