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13 Great Media Training Tips for Interviews

25 May 2021

Media Training Tips

Facing the media does not always have to be nerve-wracking. You can give better media interviews with some practice and preparation. 

Here are 13 great media training tips to help you share your story in an engaging manner.

Influence your audience 

Media interviews do not always mean controversies. Your replies to questions should not seek to explain or justify your position. Influencing or persuading your audience to think, feel and do things differently will create a better impact. 

Show Confidence 

In a media interview, the focus is on your demeanour as well as your words. Exude confidence. Show that you know what you are talking about. Signalling discomfort creates an impression of professional incompetence. 

Find Your Unique 

The audience can be cynical about news ‘spin’. Show empathy and focus on a clear strategy developed before the interview starts. 

Don’t Prepare Answers to Common Questions Beforehand 

There may be some obvious questions – but playing the ‘This is what I’d ask me’ game is pointless as it’s impossible to anticipate the irrelevant, naïve, provocative or unhelpful line of questioning from a reporter. 

Try to Converse Naturally 

Too much focus on words for the eye to read rather than ear to hear can make your responses sound too formal or technocratic. Relax and use conversational vernacular so that you sound natural. 

Review Your Media Interviews 

Reviewing your media interviews will help you to understand what works and what doesn’t following your media training courses. You can make a note of what you would like to change when you give the next TV, radio or print interview. 

Keep it Short 

Typical sound bites or quotes demand 15-20 seconds or 20 to 30 words in short form news media. Live media interviews may run for 3 minutes or more, but too much content provides choice and devolves responsibility for the message to those who know the least: the audience. Keep your responses narrow to reduce choice. 

Answer Only Those Questions That Are Within Your Scope 

Sometimes the interviewer can ask you questions that are completely out of your scope of responsibility. If you face a question that’s not your subject of expertise, do not be afraid to say that you don’t know about it. 

The interviewer is merely a microphone carrier

This may seem harsh but indicates your role in an interview is connecting with the receiver of the message using the reporter as a conduit. You are not there to educate, help or ingratiate yourself with the journalist. However, it is important to respect the questions and reporter’s involvement in order to exploit the opportunity. 

Rehearse beforehand 

Don’t practise live on air; understand how it feels to speak for 20 seconds while balancing your needs against the person interviewing you. An inability to keep a tight handle on a small ‘parcel’ of time means you may well become too ambitious with your answers. 

Keep Your Conversation focussed 

If you find the interviewer going off-topic, bridge the conversation back to the strategy you defined before the interview. 

Avoid ‘low hanging fruit’ 

Negative or emotive expressions can often be mirrored back to the reporter as ‘thinking time’; beware of the way in which a clip removed from the context of a pre-recorded media interview indicates you may be the originator since the audience don’t hear the question. 

Look after yourself 

An interview is never a ‘chat’ or a conversation – it’s a transaction: you have information the audience needs to hear, be selfish with your air time: if you don’t say it, no one else will. 

Would you like to find out more? Contact our expert media trainers!

If you would like to put our tips into practice and improve your media skills, why not try one of our media training courses? Get in touch with our expert media trainers and learn more about the best ways to handle the media whilst getting the right message across to your target audience. Call us today on +44 (0)121 688 9906 or send us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to discuss your requirements!