There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to media interviews, but a lot of them will always be dependent on the context of the content of the interview. There are however some phrases that can be used either as a bridging phrase, to link to another comment or to keep you on message. Our media training sessions are built to ensure you are fully equipped to deal with any question that may come your way and how to get your message across in the most effective way possible.
Supporting your team to ensure they are able to handle the media effectively takes more than a few phrases, and our comprehensive training packages cover this and much more, but here are some useful phrases to get you started.
Highlighting a point
The majority of the time, you are going into an interview to highlight a point and there are some phrases that really help to do this.
I feel strongly that…
This is a great way to start an important point because not only do you highlight that it is important, you also show that you strongly believe in it. This tells the audience that you are passionate about this topic and people can connect with this.
What few people realise is…
This makes the following fact a little unusual, something that not everyone knows, and we all love to know a secret. This is also a good indicator of educational information that you, as an expert, know but that other people may not.
Comparison rather than statistics
There are lots of ways to do this, but it helps people to visualise a statistic or fact you want to give. Rather than telling them that ‘X’ square metres of something were destroyed, tell them that an area the size of Wales was destroyed. Just make sure that your figures are accurate.
By getting personal, we mean getting involved with the point and taking ownership of what you are saying. And there are simple ways to do this.
Use ‘I’ and ‘you’
If you want to resonate with your audience, you want to talk about yourself and your involvement with the topic and how it affects them by using ‘I’ and ‘you’ where you can. Talking about ‘we’ can see a bit disconnected both for yourself and for the audience.
In my experience…
Don’t be afraid to highlight your experience, your expertise on the topic. You likely know more about it than your interviewer and while you don’t want to be obnoxious, it doesn’t hurt to gently reinforce this expert position. Besides, that’s why people want to hear from you.
Avoid negative rebuttals
When a journalist says something negative, you want to rebut it, but you don’t want to get into an argument. So, phrases like ‘I wouldn’t put it like that’ or something like ‘what I would say’ can allow you to change the direction of the point without seeming argumentative. You acknowledge their position, but you don’t agree with it.
Say you don’t know
The final tip of what to say is that you don’t know the answer to something. That’s okay because while it isn’t ideal, it is better to admit this than to grasp at half-facts and get them wrong. You should add something like ‘but I can tell you’ after admitting this as it closes the door to the question.
For expert media training in what to say, and what not to say to the media, contact Hawkeye to discuss how we can support your team.