Saturday, September 30, 2023

How to feel comfortable in media interviews

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Nell Callahan is the founder of Frontwood Strategiesa leading national strategic communications agency and award-winning strategist.

Regardless of a leader’s expertise, extroversion, or passion, media opportunities can make anyone nervous. It’s normal before you start the job interview to feel overwhelmed with thoughts like, “What questions will they throw at me?” And will I succeed?”

The truth is this: you are an expert and that is why you have this interview opportunity. As an experienced PR strategist, here’s my advice on how to be prepared and comfortable in any media interview.

1. You are in control.

As a spokesperson, you’re in control of whatever dynamic you’re in, even if it’s a live TV interview. To be in control means to be aware. As a spokesperson, it’s your job to make that happen and get your audience to take action.

The first step is to create a game plan: your message. It sounds simple, but getting your talking points down on paper is an essential step. I recommend creating four points: one that outlines the problem you’re trying to solve, one that describes the solution you offer, one that says what’s at stake (for better or worse) if your solution doesn’t work. followed, and one that describes why you and your company are ideally placed to help your audience.

2. Your audience is not the reporter.

It’s easy to focus on the person right in front of you: the reporter. Instead, stay focused on the readers, viewers, or listeners the media channel connects you with. That is why it is important to speak simply, slowly and directly.

You don’t have to accept the premise of questions. Reporters can ask questions to elicit specific responses, but you stay focused on your planned post. Your job is not to appease the reporter, but to convey your problem to the public.

You don’t have to fill time either. I like to schedule interviews for 10 to 15 minutes because that’s enough time for a spokesperson to deliver a sound bite. The more you say, the more you give a reporter and the more likely you are to stray from your message.

3. You don’t have to know everything.

It’s okay to say, “I need to get in touch with you.” As long as you’ve done your job by delivering a quotable soundbite, you can always send reporters additional background information they might need later. It’s better to add more information later than retract a shared statement (especially if it’s live).

4. Your view of the camera is important.

Video cameras distort our bodies as we transform from three-dimensional to two-dimensional. The camera lens will also exaggerate the slightest movements. By looking confident in front of the camera, you can eliminate distractions and connect with the audience on the other side of the lens. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

• Start with a strong core. Sit upright on the edge of your office chair, with your feet flat on the floor. That way you radiate more energy than slumped in the back of the chair.

• Keep movements intentional. As polite people, we often nod along to indicate that we are listening. On TV, that visual sign could indicate agreement. Make sure your head is still, and if you decide to move it, make sure you do it with intention. Avoid clenching your fists or holding onto the armrests of your chair; this indicates that you are nervous or angry. Many people talk with their hands (I’m one of them), but try to keep those gestures low and open so they don’t distract.

The camera lens can take a normally neutral expression and turn it into a frown. Combat that by using a slightly upturned mouth to convey the good story you have to tell.

Eye contact is one of your most powerful tools. This is how you build trust and a relationship with your audience. Looking up indicates you are seeking help and looking down indicates you are not sure. Keep eye contact with the camera lens or with the reporter if the shot was shot at an angle.

• Think about your wardrobe. Many people don’t know what to wear. Avoid fine patterns, as they tend not to translate well on camera. Also, don’t wear moving jewelry, such as dangling earrings, as it can become a distraction.

You got this!

Remember, you are having this interview for a reason. You are an expert in your field and get the chance to share your message. Lean on your passion and message, and I have every confidence that you will succeed. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?


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