Tell someone to be a media spokesperson, and he or she will most likely be running for the door.
Dealing with the media can be extremely daunting, and if you’re not prepared for the worst, it could really backfire. Here are some tips to help you ace that media interview:
1. Body language and appearance
Do not wear any “bling” to your interviews. The last thing you need is the audience questioning your monthly salary. As for clothing, you can’t go wrong with blue. If you want to come across as authoritative, wear a darker shade of blue; and if you’re apologetic, wear a lighter shade. Make sure you are conveying the right message through your posture. Do not hunch, fold your arms or sit with high crossed legs, as that will display insecurity. Be mindful of those tapping feet or fidgeting hands because that shows uncertainty. Read our previous post for more information on body language.
- Do your research
Know who your interviewer is and do some research on that person. You need to understand the angles the interviewer would typically take when conducting an interview. Watch past interviews and understand how aggressive or passive the questions asked are. You will be able to see a pattern forming. Being mentally prepared is crucial so that you are not caught off guard.
- Bridging techniques
When faced with a challenging question that may require extra time to think, do so by using bridging techniques. Spokespersons are usually given approximately five seconds to think before they have to start answering the question. If you need to buy an additional five seconds, start off by saying, “That’s a great question!” If you require ten seconds, drink water. However, there are only so many times a person can do this, so save this card for when you really need it.
- You are in control
Never forget this. You are in control, not the interviewer. You should set the pace, topic, message, delivery and outcome of the interview – tactfully, of course. When the interview starts getting sidetracked, do not be afraid to bring it back into perspective. Use phrases such as:
- “The most important thing is…”
- “I think the key issue here is…”
- “What the audiences need to know is…”
Remember, some journalists intentionally stay quiet and make things awkward in order to make you talk…and then they’ll start poking. Do not dig yourself a hole so deep that you can’t get out of.
At the end of the day, don’t sweat it too much. With enough preparation, you’ll be able to convey your key message effectively, be seen as a key opinion leader, and essentially come out of the interview a CHAMP.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Su Rei Khoo.