Engaging with the media can be quite daunting, especially when being asked to address something you’d much rather avoid as in Tony Abbott’s case back in 2011, who simply ignored the question being asked to him again and again. However, when communicating with the media the key to getting it right simply comes down to preparation.
I recently joined See Media to gain work experience and was able to join a media training workshop for one of its clients, which was a great learning experience with plenty of takeaways.
The most pivotal piece of advice I gained from the session was about the importance of tailoring your interview to suit the media outlet you’re being interviewed by. This is essential because different mediums require different approaches and so, I’d like to share a few of the tips that I picked up to help you with preparing for any interviews you may have coming up.
TV and radio
When your organisation engages with any TV or radio journalists it’s important to be clear on your organisation’s standpoint, and your response aligns with it.
You should answer all the questions as best as you can, positive and negative. To prepare for this plan the topics that you might cover in terms of the ‘safe island’ technique. On dry land would be the areas of the interview your organisation would like to cover, and the sea would represent areas that you may not want to stray into. By placing them into these categories you can prepare for any trickier topics you may need to confront, as well as identify what messages will enable you to swim back to the safety of your island.
Newspaper and websites
Unlike TV and radio, journalist interviews for any newspaper or website articles aren’t broadcast live. This means they aren’t looking for short ten second soundbites, but will most probably provide you with more time to explain your thoughts.
This puts you and your organisation at an advantage as most journalists will capture most if not all of what you say. However, this means that your answers need to be as clear and concise as possible so that they are well-informed and leave little room for misinterpretation.
When preparing for a presentation, it’s always a good idea to write out a script and read it out loud – or where possible practice in front of someone – to help ensure you are familiar with the information that you’ll be sharing and get feedback on your approach.
You should then aim to memorise your presentation and refine the written text to bullet points so they can act as prompts. The key to a good presentation is confidence and this is built through practice.
Communicating with the media doesn’t have to be intimidating and by preparing you can ensure you get the best results.
If you’re interested in knowing more about our media training packages, contact Sarah.Thomas@see-media.co.uk.
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Toluwani Omotoye is PR intern at See Media.