10 Essential Keys to Master Media Interviews

How to obtain more positive press…

The chairwoman grew visibly agitated with the camera rolling and froze like a proverbial deer in the headlights. “Where are my lawyers!” she screamed.

The late Mike Wallace, iconic broadcast journalist and longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent.

John Stossel Strikes Again

In the years ahead, Stossel departed ABC News for Fox News Channel, as rumors swirled that he was fired or forced out over allegations of factually inaccurate reporting and dismissing basic journalism standards.

Tricky Business

While the media tips below are absolutely essential for executive leaders and managers, they can likewise be applied down the corporate ladder.

First Steps to Prep

Always help educate reporters about “hot button” issues from your organization’s perspective.

Don’t ever just “wing it” with media interviews, or the resulting story may cause more harm than good.

Perfecting the Prep

Make sure to include at least two to three major talking points which you want reflected in the resulting story.

Any sincere praise or recognition you can offer a journalist will often smooth relations going forward. Thus, review their recent reporting.

Rehearse your answers and do a mock interview with the communications team in your organization.

Also recall that many types of communication are non-verbal in nature.

What to Remember

Repetition of your main points is key, especially on camera, even if you sound like a broken record.

You may need a few seconds to formulate your answer if unprepared for the question.

Do not fold your arms or talk with your hands, as this looks defensive and awkward. If needed, keep your hands tightly clasped on your lap.

Don’t give a reporter hellbent on sensationalism the chance to go for the kill.

Bonus Point

Rely on the expert judgment of any communications aide who is staffing the interview.

Again, this might be necessary if a reporter or producer continually asks questions that both sides previously agreed would not be asked, or if a reporter engages in unprofessional conduct and interrogations.

Final Thoughts

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Strategic comms consultant for social justice, DEI, CSR | prior career spokesman at U.S. EEOC, WH political appointee for Bill Clinton | DC-based, NY-bred

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