Media interview? Here's my top tips...
The world right now is looking hard at businesses and charities. Never before has scrutiny been so vigilant, as the public calls for companies to take a stand for what is right. And the topics of conversation are highly emotive, extremely personal and everyone will be responding differently.
So, if you run an organisation how do you speak to the media? How do you tackle difficult questions? Here's my top tips...
Staying on message
Before agreeing to any media interviews, consider what messages you want to convey. Do the media have preconceived ideas of how you will respond to a certain question? What do care about and why is it important for you to share your message?
To be effective, your messaging must be rooted in evidence (statistics, trends, data or human testimonials), be simple and concise, and the messaging needs to include a call to action - what do you want people to think or do after hearing your messaging? Having clear key messaging will really help you prepare for any interview or statement release.
It is difficult to remain calm and focused when you are speaking about a topic close to your heart. I know that I feel very strongly about certain issues and I would struggle to stay objective if I were being interviewed about them, and I imagine you do too. But it is important to remember that a media interview isn't about your personal opinions, it's about your professional opinions. This may seem strange - surely they are the same thing? Not always. It's important to recognise your own opinions and hopes and how they differ from your company's standpoint. This will help you to remain on message.
The interview itself
You cannot control what a journalist says or does. The only thing you can control is yourself. Your own words, reactions and responses. Here's some top tips for handling a media interview...
Avoid yes or no answers
Try to avoid saying 'No comment' - you can say you don't know something
If the journalist says something incorrect, correct them firmly and politely
If you keep being interrupted, politely ask if you may have the opportunity to finish
Always keep your key messages in mind
If you are quoting evidence, make sure you know it well and be prepared to ask questions about numbers and sources
Remember nothing is off the record
Be prepared to wait out a long silence - it's not your job to fill any pauses in conversation
Maintain eye contact
Smile, if it is appropriate to do so
The golden rule
Being likeable is great. Showing empathy, compassion and warmth will make a huge difference. Staying on message is important.
But being credible is vital!
Always aim to be credible above everything else.
I wish you lots of luck with any forthcoming media interviews or commentary and if you would like to chat about your approach, just get in touch.