How do you handle a media interview?

This is a question that many a CEO or a spokesperson for a company has. Handling this well is the golden key to receiving plenty of positive publicity for the brand or organization. At Catalyst, we have a great deal of expertise in helping our clients handle them well and here are some great tips to breeze through.

Do your homework well

If you are to meet a certain reporter or reporters, try to read articles that they have written. This will help you build a positive connect and act as a good ice-breaker too. Also, stay abreast of the latest trends and issues in your industry as you might have to take questions on them.

Display thought leadership

Position yourself as a leader in the industry; you must create this image by being knowledgeable about the various facets of your industry and being in touch with current affairs. You must have fresh and interesting nuggets of information to share. This is what would make your interview valuable. Journalists simply love numbers! Add more numbers about your industry or your company such as demand, supply, number of players, turnover, profit, no of employees and so on.

What happens if things take a different turn?

Sometimes the interview may not move along the lines that you had planned. You may have worked out the answers to specific questions and decided the kind of information that you want to share. However, a reporter could completely alter the course of things and you might find yourself caught unawares. What do you do? Do not abruptly try to change the topic. Add bridge lines like, “I think the key issue really is……” or “What I think is really important is ……..”

Keep the space looking good

Often photographs and videos will be shot at your location. Make sure your space is kept neat and clean. Add a touch of freshness with a bunch of flowers if it suits the location you are at.

Understand the media

Every media has its own style and biases. Try to understand how much ever you could about this. If possible, ask for questions beforehand so that you could prepare. Other helpful information that you could gather in advance is about the approximate length of the interview and the audience. If the interview is to be televised, you could check what you are expected to wear, who will do your makeup, and if you are likely to get an opportunity to display your product.

Provide a backgrounder

Make things easy for the reporter. Even before the interview share information related to your brand/ service and your company besides clips of prior media coverage. This will help the reporter gain an overview of your brand/ company and does not need to start with basics.

Learn to relax

When you are asked a question, focus on it and answer but keep your body language relaxed and casual. Make sure that you are seated comfortably. Never cross your arms or adopt any other defensive posture. Flash a smile at the beginning.

You’re always on the record

Always stay conscious of what you speak. A reporter might appear to be done with the interview but continue to talk without notes or the camera keeps rolling, but whatever you share can be used. Never speak anything negative about your company, industry, competitors or the government. This could boomerang on you and affect your business in future. Instead stay positive. You could make suggestions on how certain things could be improved.
Follow these easy tips and step into a media interview cool and confident!

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