Over the years the Goodwork team has done a lot of media training. We have trained individuals, small companies, small charities, big charities and several captains of industry.
We can tailor make a media training programme that will be specific to your needs. There is no point in teaching you how to deal with a tough “Newsnight” interview if what you really need is help to maximise your coverage in your trade press or on your local radio station. Please give us a call and we can discuss your needs.
Here are some free tips that regardless of who you are dealing with, will, we hope come in useful.
1. Be honest. Say nothing that you don’t feel you could honestly defend if this interview was played back to you in a years’ time.
2. Key Messages. It is very important that all of your team agree three or four key messages and that you are very familiar with them. These are the points that you want to get across in any encounter with the Press. It is important that everyone on your team is “singing off the same hymn sheet”. Keep the messages simple.
3. Preparation. However familiar you may be with the Press you are dealing with it is vital that you prepare for each interview so that you are not caught off guard. Understand the media you are speaking to. Read the paper, watch the news programme, listen to the radio show so that you have a good feel for what is expected. On the day, make sure that you are familiar with the news topics of the day so that you are prepared to answers questions about stories that may have happened that very day.
4. Negative Questions. Do you have a clear, honest and appropriate answer to any negative questions? Think about this carefully and practice your answers. Always tell the truth. If you don’t know the answer be honest and say “I don’t know the answer to that but I will come back to you as soon as I do” or something similar. If you need a moment to think, have a sip of water or clear your throat. It can buy you the few seconds you need to gather your thoughts.
5. Control. When you are writing a speech you control the content. In an interview the reporter wags the dog. Before the interview, try if possible to build up some rapport with the reporter. It helps break the ice and they are likely to go easier on you if you have exchanged some personal information. There are some things you can do to get back to where you want to be. “Before we get off that topic…let me add”…..”Let me put that into perspective……” “It’s important to remember that….”
6. Body Language. Sit straight. Keep both feet on the ground, it will literally “ground” you. Don’t fidget. Look at the interviewer. Don’t look down the camera lens. Before your interview starts, go to a quiet place and stretch your arms out wide and breathe deeply for a couple of minutes. Filling your lungs with oxygen will calm you and help clear your mind and help you focus.
7. Clothes. Dress conservatively. Nothing too showy. They should remember what you said not what you were wearing. Neutral or solid colours. Avoid “hounds tooth” or “Prince of Wales check” it plays havoc with TV cameras. No showy jewellery.
8. Off the record. Nothing is ever off the record. Nothing. Ever. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Remember that all microphones and all cameras are always “on”. All studios are always live. Assume that from the moment you enter a studio that everything you say is being recorded.
9. Environment. Think about your immediate surroundings. If you’re being interviewed in your home or your office, think about your environment. Is your desk tidy? Is there a bottle of whisky sitting on the shelf behind you? Is there a pot plant growing out of your head? Think about how your environment will reflect on what you are talking about.
10. Enjoy it. You are probably not used to doing this. It can be a bit daunting but do remember that this is a great opportunity to tell the world about something that you care about. Try if possible to enjoy the moment. If you are straight and honest with the person doing the interview you have nothing to fear and everything to gain.