Ever wondered why you did a press interview and your message was 'taken out of context'? Or a journalist was reluctant to come back to you for more interviews, while your competitors enjoyed the media spotlight?
I've interviewed hundreds of the world’s leading CEOs, CMOs, politicians, banking executives and tech entrepreneurs - and I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to responses to interview questions. Here are six tips I always share when running media training sessions that can help you make a lasting impression during a media interview.
1. Speak in a way that people take notice
If you want to get across your brand, business or personal message across with impact, use your tone, words and body language to deliver your message in a way that truly resonates. So slow your pace, pause in the right places, and speak clearly, concisely and with conviction.
2. Show genuine passion for what you do
Lack of energy and a mediocre tone of voice, avoiding eye contact or worse, pacing around, all show signs you aren’t bothered about what you do, or what you have to say. So get the energy up and show how passionate you are about your business, the interviewer will immediately see you’re genuine, and truly believe in what you do.
3. Know some facts, but don’t be a know it all
Prepare some facts, stats and interesting figures in advance that are worth mentioning to the press. These could be findings from your recent white paper, surveys or customer success stories. But don’t fudge numbers or be vague if you really don’t know your facts. Admit you have some great resources to share, but don’t have the exact numbers on you, and that you/your PR will share with the journalist immediately after the interview.
4. Ask for the questions in advance, but don’t micro-manage.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for the questions in advance. It will help you be more prepared, and make the interview run more seamlessly. However asking the press to fact-check, approve and sign-off the entire article before it is published is a complete turn off for any journalist, shows lack of trust, and worse, can disrupt the timing of a hot news topic.
5. Keep it sharp and relevant
Keep your answers concise and relevant and avoid rambling. Always remember journalists love the ‘golden quotes’ that make an impact and stand out in the copy. Analogies are great, but don’t go too off on a tangent.
6. It’s OK to say no
If you’re genuinely uncomfortable with a question, it’s OK to say no. Reasonable reasons to decline include that you’re not in a position yet to comment on a point, the news is yet to be released, you’ll need approval from a particular client or customer to divulge certain information, or the question is simply not relevant to your particular role.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
About the Author: Azadeh Williams is the Founder and Managing Director of AZK Media.