There’s no doubt that media interviews can be highly stressful affairs. What you say and do, how your body language comes across and what people ultimately think can be determined in just a few short minutes of conversation with a journalist.
Here are our top tips for getting it right on the day:
- Learn to Relax
Easier said than done, you may well say. It’s not a simple thing to stay relaxed when you’re faced with questions from a journalist, whether it’s a private meeting or an interview on TV or radio. That goes for whether you’re new to media interviewing or an experienced performer.
Deep breathing always helps beforehand but essentially find what works for you when it comes to relaxing. Some people use mediation, others run briskly on the spot to get their blood flowing.
- Don’t Rush Your Speech
When you’re nervous and under pressure, it’s tempting to speed up what you say just to get it all out. Make a conscious effort to slow down your speech and focus on your words. It something that usually helps dampen down those pesky nerves at the same time.
- Be Succinct
You don’t need to give a full and over blown explanation of things. It doesn’t work anyway if you’re having a three or four minute interview on radio. There’s often a temptation to fill empty space but when you have finished what you are saying don’t try to drag it on for the sake of something to say.
- Avoid Rambling
In other words, try not to be incoherent. When you jump from thought to thought it can be confusing for the listener and send mixed messages. This usually happens when you are asked a question that you don’t have an answer for and panic. If you don’t know, just say so or tell the interviewer you’ll find out for them.
- Have Your Talking Points Ready
Preparation is key to good communication so make sure you have your main talking points down pat and firmly fixed in your head. While you don’t want to sound robotic or overprepared, it can help keep your conversation on track.
- Use Storytelling
We love stories so incorporating some into your answers can be a great way to get your message across. It doesn’t work for short interviews but certainly for longer ones can make your performance a lot more dynamic.
- Avoid Off the Record Remarks
People are always surprised that off the record remarks end up on the front page. However friendly you are with the journalist or interviewer, you shouldn’t say anything that you wouldn’t say live on TV or simply don’t want out in the public domain.
You can’t expect the journalist to stay mum – it’s their job to report and tell the truth as they see it.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, try to be yourself as much as possible. No, this isn’t easy especially if you’re not used to dealing with the media. It comes down to that first tip, learning to relax. The more authentic you are, the more likely your words are to be believed.
Making sure you adhere to a few simple rules and practices can go a long way to making you feel more confident during a media interview. It will also raise your performance level even if you have a difficult situation to discuss. Ensuring you get comprehensive and regular media interview training from the expert team at Hawkeye will ensure you can deliver, thrive and even shine every time you do an interview.