Good interviews don’t just happen by accident
Key messages, are the most important information you want the public to know about your organization. It is very important to develop and practice your key messages, and integrate them into every interview you give.
To ensure your key messages are a part of every interview, you should:
1. State your objective at the beginning of the interview
2. If asked an unrelated question, bridge to your key messages
3. Provide support for your objective
4. Summarize your thoughts
LEARN HOW TO “BRIDGE”
This technique allows you to deflect any attempts to derail your key messages. “Bridging” creates a transition, so that you can move from one subject to the message you want to communicate. First answer the direct question, then transition to your message.
We suggest such bridging phrases as:
PREPARING FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS
1. Review your key message points.
2. Have something to say.
3. Make it interesting and relevant.
4. Have energy. If you are not excited, why should the reporter and audience be?
5. Know your audience.
An interview, is a basic tool of news gathering, not a conversation. Think of it as a formal debate. Also, it is important to remember the reporter interviews a subject in search of news—not to further a company’s reputation.
1. Anticipate key questions.
2. Prepare key answers.
3. Identify your three key messages and make sure to deliver them no matter what!
4. Practice, practice, practice!
5. Dress professional.
TOP TIPS TO GIVE A GREAT INTERVIEW
Good interviews don’t just happen by accident, as those who participate in media training quickly learn. Here are four of our top tips.
1. Do your Prep work
Find out as much as you can about the program on which you’re being asked to appear – is it live or pre-recorded? Why has the program chosen this particular topic, and what angle are they taking? What are they expecting from you – what are the question areas? Is the audience completely general, or is targeted at housewives in San Diego, or businessmen in hotels across the United States? Think about the points you could make which are most interesting, useful and relevant to the appropriate audience.
2. Dress for success
Avoid jackets or suits with close-checked or herringbone patterns, as the cameras cannot always cope with the intricacy of the pattern, so viewers get an uncomfortable strobing effect. The same applies to closely-striped shirts in sharply contrasting colors. Men should also avoid very dark suits, particularly in combination with white shirts, which can drain color from the face. Light pastel shirts are more flattering. For women, go for the unfussy look if you are trying to appear smart and authoritative – bold patterned scarves and loud jewelry, can detract attention from what you are actually saying. For jackets and suits, fairly neutral colors tend to work best – deep saturated reds are not usually so successful.
3. Mind your language
Think about the way you talk in your work life – is your conversation peppered with abbreviations, technical terms and other jargon? For the outside world, this will just not do. Imagine instead, that you are chatting in the pub to someone who is perfectly intelligent, but who simply doesn’t know anything about the subject. How would you explain it to them without being patronizing?
4. Make it interesting and relevant
Use concrete examples which convey the reality of the points you are trying to make, rather than leaving everything theoretical. You will come over as more authoritative when you have facts, and specifics to back yourself up. Remember to stress the points that are likely to interest the journalist’s readership, rather than just your own internal messages.
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