Being interviewed: Make sure the language works
13 May 2021
It’s not easy adapting the language you use professionally for it to work in a non-work environment. Most organisation’s efficiency in communication is driven by the ability of those within to understand the ‘dialect’ of the daily translations.
Three letter acronyms – or TLAs – were once the exclusive domain of monolithic state run corporations – now every firm or organisation relies on their brevity to drive corporate business.
However, the problem can often occur when being interviewed – or speaking to a customer, client or stakeholder – because you can’t necessarily trust yourself to deliver the themes of your strategy without sticking to the, often, binary language of the job that you do. But when you are interviewed in the media, you need to be speaking language for the ear to hear and not the eye to read. The latter is very difficult as you may spend a great deal of your life with the written word – reports, policies, documents – which makes the demands of the media trickier when it’s something you aren’t used to.
Before being interviewed you need to know how the words you’ve prepared are going to sound; always rehearse BEFORE the interview – don’t use the interview process to surprise yourself for the first time with the sound of your plan or position that was only previously written down.
Language also plays a vital role in ensuring your audience respond and react in the way you want them to. If they don’t essentially ‘get it’, then there’s very little chance they’ll be influenced once you’ve been on air – or have read your comments. Remember this is a media interview not a lecture. Avoid the technical, the technocratic and the downright scientific.
For this reason, it’s essential that you concentrate on articulating your strategy using simple conversational English since your ultimate aim is to make the recipient think, feel and do things differently. If they don’t receive, process and then act on your ‘instruction’, your whole communications strategy will be wasted.