Dealing with reporters is not a skill innate to any of us. It takes time, experience, and lots of practice to become a go-to media interview subject.
If you are already an experienced hand when it comes to reporter relationships, today’s advice serves as a reminder of some of the highlights to keep in mind. If you are just beginning your spokesperson journey, these pointers will help get you centered.
The first set of tips appears today. The second half will follow later this week. Let’s get started:
- Build your magnetic message on four solid points. Like the legs of a chair, each of your main points needs to be strong. Watch out if it’s not, for you’ll find yourself sprawled awkwardly on the floor when your “message chair” collapses under questioning.
- Anticipate and prepare for routine questions. There are few things worse than that deer in the headlights look when confronted with a question to which you should know the answer.
- Think in terms of your desired headline first. Reporters’ brains work different from most people’s (as an ex-reporter, I can get away with saying this). They want you to cut right to the chase, so offer up your headline first.
- Stage mock interviews to prepare for the real thing. I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of practice. Have your communications team and your communications training consultant put you through some no-holds-barred preparation.
- Insist upon media training for all of your spokespeople. Please work with an expert who focuses on communications training. A public relations generalist just doesn’t have the wherewithal to get the job done.
Any guesses as to the five tips to come later this week? The first three folks to guess even one of them correctly before they are posted to The Media Training Blog score a copy of my book, The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations.