Interview skillsMedia Interviews

When you agree to do a media interview, a number of things often cross your mind. Questions you ask yourself range from I wonder what the journalist will ask me, to will I be able to answer their questions?

When I media train people I always reinforce the fact that “you are the expert” in what you do and you will easily be able to answer the questions. But more than that, during the interview you must be interesting.

I recently media trained two band members from a new pop group, who were due to do a media interview. They were in their late teens, early twenties and both were really enthusiastic in what they were doing – they just needed guidance.

A radio journalist wants an interviewee to be interesting so that their listeners don’t turn over to another station. These guys were interesting and enthusiastic but needed guidance on what they wanted to say. They also needed guidance on how to “control” an interview and keep themselves on message and the journalist “asking the right questions”.

As in all of my media training sessions we did a “cold” interview first. I just sat them down, put the camera on, and started firing questions at them. They were as good as could be expected – cold.

As usual, this first interview made them realise that they needed to know what messages they wanted to get across – which led to the inevitable “messaging session”.

So what do you want to say? The two key elements to a good media interview

  • Know what you want to say
  • Know how to say it (so that you leave your audience with your message ringing in their ears when you finish.)