December 11, 2020
Only very experienced spokespeople relish the thought of a media interview, and while some of them get nervous too, they just know how to hide it better.
Media interviews don’t need to be hostile situations. With the right media training, spokespeople can bring a positive approach to the experience, ensuring they communicate their messages while also delivering valuable content for the audience.
A set process for dealing with media enquiries from friendly to confrontational is essential for any public-facing organisation or campaign.
With over 20 years of experience in the PR game, with an international award-winning reputation, I am here to guide your business. Contact me to find out more about my services including media training but in the meantime here are my dos and don’ts to get you interview ready!
Keep It Simple
Remember the KISS principle. Avoid making your message too complex. This applies to writing and being interviewed either in person or by phone. Stick to the main message and simple evidence to prove the point you are making.
Where possible, give examples. This is often a good way of explaining complex topics.
Tell The Truth
Be truthful and maintain integrity in dealing with the news media. When questions cannot be answered for legal reasons or because of uncertainty of the answer, this should be explained.
If a journalist phones you to comment on an issue or event and you have not had time to think about your response or inform the communications team of the opportunity, explain you are not ready and will phone back as quickly as possible. Remember that journalists are on strict deadlines and in most cases will not wait until tomorrow. Act immediately. Think about the topic or questions, write down your comments in point form. When speaking to journalists, be clear and concise.
Assume Or Ask To Go ‘Off Record’
A general rule of thumb is that you should never say anything you don’t want to see in print.
Say ‘No Comment’
If you are unable to answer, explain why.
Guess At Answers
Do not speculate or provide a fact of which you are not sure. Instead, ask if you may call back with the correct information. No one wants to publish inaccurate information.
Lie Or Mislead
Do not knowingly give incorrect information, you will be found out and will lose credibility.
Defame Or Speak For Anyone Else
Do not comment on your competitors or their actions.
Turn Too Technical
Do not speak above a general knowledge of your expertise. This means to keep technical terms to a minimum, so that any audience can understand.
Fail To Follow Through
Do not tell a journalist that you will get back to them when you have no intention of returning the call.
As with anything the more experience you have with the media the easier it will be. However, by taking note of the above tips you will set yourself up for success while you wait for your moment in the spotlight.
For further advice, training and consultation feel free to reach out to me.
About Louise Nealon
Award-winning Communications Director, Louise Nealon, helps purpose-led organisations and minority groups that support humanity, to be visible and heard – in order to create positive change in the world.