With the recent fervor over the presidential elections, how one is perceived through the media has gained newfound popularity. It’s not good enough to perform well, it’s critical to inform, persuade and “entertain” in a fashion that is easily digestible and translatable to mainstream media and main street America. Sad thing is, those that probably need media training the most and likely the same folks who believe they don’t need it.
Everyone needs it.
Before doing an interview, after the interview, before a speech or presentation, reviewing the speech or presentation – media training and bettering oneself is an ongoing process. How you are perceived and how you present yourself both on camera and on stage is a critical point in the branding of both you and your organization.
Here are some general tips:
1. While not every media outlet will provide questions in advance, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Certainly, before agreeing to the interview, make sure you have a solid understanding of the publication, a general demographic of readers, and do yourself a favor – read the pub and get familiar with it BEFORE you pitch them or do the interview.
2. Unlike the presidential debates, most reporters will actually want you to explain or expound with specifics on a given a topic. Be prepared in advance with what you believe will be asked, and rehearse how you plan to answer those questions. Don’t obfuscate, just be honest. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up on the fly. Simply say, I don’t have that information readily available, but I’m happy to get back to you. And, get back to them.
3. While the media outlet you’re speaking with is likely not interested in being your personal promoter, understand that you will likely have to be a bit nimble and flexible on topics and direction. Roll with it, and don’t be so rigid in your responses that you keep coming back to same mundane bites – this is a sure fire way to end up on the cutting room floor. Just because you have three key messages, doesn’t mean that each answer has to start and end with one of them. Weave them in comfortably and confidently, rather than using them as the one and only talking point. Continue reading