Interacting with the media doesn’t have to be as awful as most people think – in fact, once you understand the basics, you can enter any interview with confidence and authoritative control of your own media message.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be focusing on the art of the media interview. Though they can be challenging at times, many media “meltdowns” come at the hand of the interviewee – not the reporter or interviewer.
In other words, many (but not all) bad interview experiences are entirely preventable.
MCCI’s clients range from Fortune 25 clients to nonprofit organizations that look to us for media training. Prior to an interview, we guide many of our clients on how to effectively communicate with reporters and editors. Of course, we ought to know: many of our team members come from network affiliate news operations, The Washington Post Companies, automotive and health care publications, and other reporter-driven media entities.
Let’s get started with a few basic tips…
The Do’s and Don’ts of Interacting With the Media
Do limit yourself to three main things that you want to talk about under the context of one theme. (Like an event or recent breaking story, for example).
Don’t allow yourself to “dance all over the dance floor”. Stay on track with your topic, no matter which direction the reporter wants to take the questioning.
Do talk about the things you’re excited about and knowledgeable of; your passion will come through loud and clear.
Don’t talk about things you’re unsure of or don’t know much about. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you’re providing incorrect information.
Do remember that you are in control of your own conversation. You’re not on the witness stand – and the reporter is not a prosecutor.
Don’t answer every single question that a reporter asks simply because they’re asking. If a reporter asks you something you’re not comfortable with, you don’t have to feel obligated to answer. Try responding by segueing to the topic you came to talk about.
Do remain positive, upbeat and straight-forward in front of the media
Don’t be inconsistent. If you counter something you’ve previously said it will inevitably be misinterpreted.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more tips and information when interacting with the media!
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