Do the words “media interview” send you running for cover? Have you ever been interviewed by a reporter and afterward said “Never again”? Do you wish you understood more about the skills necessary to perform well during an interview? During my 35-year career in broadcast news media, I’ve seen it all – from the perfect to the disastrous and everything in between. Media training can make all the difference. We offer help for individuals or groups that will make you media ready. So, check out our Exact workshop page, and in the meantime, here are five tips that can get you started.
Five Ways to Prepare for a Media Interview
- Understand the media landscape
Familiarize yourself with the media outlet and the reporter who will be conducting the interview. Research their expertise, previous work, their style of reporting. This knowledge will help you tailor your messaging and anticipate questions.
- Craft your key messages
Determine the 1-3 key points you want to convey during the interview. Keep your messages clear, concise, and aligned with your overall goal. Focus on delivering these messages consistently throughout the interview, regardless of the questions asked.
- Prepare for potential questions
Anticipate questions and prepare thoughtful responses. Consider both positive and negative aspects of your topic and develop appropriate answers. Practice your responses to be sure they are concise, accurate, and align with your key messages.
- Practice delivery, active listening, and nonverbal communication
Practice with a media trainer or colleague, record the interview, and review for content accuracy and delivery effectiveness. Listen carefully to the questions, maintain eye contact, use appropriate facial expressions and gestures, and project confidence. Be aware of your tone of voice and body language to appear engaged and approachable.
- Set the scene
Keep your appearance professional and appropriate, paying attention to your hair, clothing, and accessories. If using Zoom, create a pleasant setting with good lighting and no distractions.
So, when you get that request to be interviewed, don’t go running for cover. Instead, call us and we’ll get you ready in 5…4…3…2…
Marcy McGinnis is a former Emmy-award winning CBS News producer and executive.