By Greg Glynn, APR, Account Supervisor
At Marshall Communications, we work with many clients to secure media interviews for them that lead to a variety of media results on television, radio, online or in print. However, our job doesn’t stop there. We prefer to work closely with our clients, not only to get them interviewed but also to help them be a great interviewee, so they become a well-respected source. It is these people who get media training that we help to get called back by the media again and again.
Here are five signs you would benefit from media training.
- After an interview you were unsure how it went or said, “I’m glad that’s over.”
This is completely normal, but the root of the problem isn’t about you, it’s about your message. With media training, you learn to create sound bites that are easy for the media to edit and use in their story. A good interview starts with a clear and concise message. Drafting a message map to use for an interview is one of the best ways to prepare. During the interview, you want to know your message and content so well that you can focus on other things, including situational awareness.
- You don’t know what to wear.
You probably have plenty of wonderful clothes, but a media interview is actually a great reason to go buy a new outfit. The reason is because certain colors and types of clothing work better (especially for television). It is important to avoid clothes that can get in the way or dangle from your neck, including things like a colorful tie, scarf, shawl, large earrings, etc. These items can create challenges when the TV crew puts a mic on your chest or neck. You also want to try to stick with solid colors, such as blues and black. Whenever possible, avoid white and red, as they tend to “bleed” on camera and can be distracting. If anything is distracting the viewer, the less time they are focused on what you are saying. We have more tips on clothes to wear in our extensive media training packet that comes with our trainings.
- You get stressed the night before.
You are not alone in this area, even some of the best spokespeople we have trained get nervous the night before but good preparation the week leading up to the interview is the best way to calm these nerves. This should involve doing some mock interviews with a co-worker and anticipating the worst type of question you could get asked. It is important to always be prepared and then you’ll feel confident you can handle anything. In many cases, people fear the unknown, so while you won’t be able to predict every question, having a game plan and crutch statements ready will help you feel a lot more prepared. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy foods at least three days prior to the interview. A helpful hint; consider having blueberries for breakfast the day of the interview. Blueberries have antioxidants and anthocyanins that are great for your memory.
- You ask to see the article before it gets published.
This is only for print and online media, but it is a big red flag and rookie mistake. The reporter is a professional and it is your job to be prepared with the accurate information before the interview. If you need to follow up on a certain stat or detail from the interview, it is OK to do that in an email. Another tip; most newspapers put the article online the day before it hits the papers, so if you set up Google Alerts for your name, you will be able to see the article once it goes online and then can review or point out any glaring errors and catch the reporter before it goes to print. If you do need to make a correction, be very polite.
- You don’t like public speaking, being on camera or being interviewed.
Again, you are not alone. It is well documented, that more people fear public speaking than fear death. As part of our trainings, we have trained spokespeople in a variety of positions who express their fears. While you don’t have to like being interviewed, as a spokesperson it comes with the territory. Interviews should be seen as an opportunity and not an obligation. We can help you get over your fears and flourish in front of the camera. Knowing the details about what the media are expecting from you and what you can do to help them will make it a much better experience.
If any of this sounds familiar, we understand and are happy to help. We recently produced this video with Olympian Julia Clukey about 10 Helpful Interview Tips. After reading this article, you’re ready to take the next step to promote your brand. We offer media training seminars for individuals, businesses and organizations (link to media training page).