Media interviews: bring your A game

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In a news report gone wrong, Professor Robert Kelly was interrupted by his two young children during an interview live on the BBC. It’s safe to say the interview didn’t go exactly as planned, but the Professor held his own, answered his questions and generated comedy gold.

By Leah Elston-Thompson, senior account executive

A successful media interview relies on you sounding off-the-cuff while sharing pre-prepared messages. The interviewee ma
y not look like the person in charge, but by taking control of the conversation, you can make sure your interview goes exactly as planned.

On the record

Remember that anything you can say to a journalist can be reported ─ there is no such thing as off the record. For this reason, it’s important to think before you speak during an interview. Similarly, avoid saying no comment, it could look like you are hiding something.

The best way to achieve your interview goals is to gather as much information as possible in advance. Before the interview, ask the journalist for background on the story, find out whether you will appear live and ask what kind of feature it will be including in. This will help you to gauge what kind of questions the journalist will ask and how you should react.

It can also be useful to gather information on the journalist ahead of the interview to establish their writing style, interests and what publications they work for. This way you can tailor the conversation to the journalist and their audience.

Choose your messages

To keep the conversation going your way, you should plan the topics you want to cover in the interview. Formulate this into three core messages and use bridging techniques to progress from what the journalist has asked to your objective in a way that doesn’t seem forced.

Choosing and rehearsing your three core messages is the most important tip for media interview success. The messages will help you to respond to even the most surprising of questions, although they can’t stop your children from bursting in.

For more information on preparing core messages for a media interview, contact Stone Junction on 01785 225416 or e-mail me at leah@stonejunction.co.uk.

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