You’ve been called up by a journalist to give your take on the hot story of the day. You know the opportunity will be a good chance to raise your profile but you’re worried that you’ll forget what to say, fumble your words and start to sweat.
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Here’s some quick guidance to help ease those nerves, make an impression and make sure you’ll get invited back to talk on your chosen subject again.
- Write down your key messages that you’d like to get across during the interview. Depending on the length of the interview, you might have three to five key things that you’d like to get across. Think of it as a success if you managed to get most of these out during the interview.
- Always try to answer the question. You don’t want to be ‘Paxmaned’ by evading the question, but you can try and weave in your key messages in answers that might not answer the original question. This can sometimes be hard to do, but using a technique called ‘bridging and steering’, you can move the conversation onto something you’d rather talk about.
- Remember that you are the expert. You’ve been invited to talk on the subject for a reason – you know the subject better than the interviewer, and most probably better than the intended audience. Try to treat the questions like any other enquiry but try to avoid using lots of jargon.
- Speak in paragraphs. Nobody wants to read a block of text with no breaks, so they’re just as unlikely as to want to listen to someone speaking like that. Just like you’d write in paragraphs, speak in bursts of sentences. This allows for natural breathing spaces to carry on your point or gives the interviewer an opportunity to ask the next question.
- Smile. Unless you’re talking about a crisis, you’ll be a lot more amenable to the interviewer (and audience if it’s a broadcast interview) if you look happy. Smiling, happy folk are a lot easier to listen to.
Of course, there’s a lot more to this than these five tips. I offer media training for all types of organisations, all tailored to their area of expertise. For more in-depth advice, get in touch to see how you could benefit from some bespoke training.