Media interviews can be an exciting but nerve-wracking experience, especially when you realize that how you conduct yourself during an interview can make or break your company’s image. From what you say down to what you wear, in a TV interview, all eyes are on you. This kind of pressure can cause even the most senior executive to run for the nearest public restroom. The good news is you can have control. One of the best pieces of advice I received before doing a live TV interview was to be myself. I want to share this tip along with a few other easy tips I learned from a friend in the public relations industry.
Never “wing” an interview. Always prepare for a media interview beforehand. This not only saves time but helps you deliver your message effectively.
Tell the truth. Never lie or speculate in a media interview. Your credibility is crucial.
Never say anything you don’t want to see, hear or read about. The reporter may have control over the questions, but you have control over what comes out of your mouth. If you go into an interview without a clear message, what you say could damage your company’s reputation.
Focus on a few points. When communicating with the media, it is important to narrow your message down to a few good key points. If you try to communicate 15 ideas, you’ll end up confusing everyone.
Be yourself. Although you may be nervous, try to relax. Don’t sound as though you’re reading or going through a prepared list. Deliver your message with confidence.
Avoid industry jargon. Avoid using big words, insider business jargon or fancy acronyms.
Never say, “No comment.” The phrase “no comment” is forbidden at any time, for any reason, in any media interview. There may be times when you won’t have anything else to say to a reporter on a specific subject, and in such a case, you can provide an alternative, reasonable explanation.
For live TV interviews: Sit or stand comfortably. If sitting, lean forward 15 degrees toward the camera. Dress conservatively. Use makeup carefully. Look at the interviewer, not the camera. Talk a little louder than normal, and with more energy. Be conversational (don't memorize). Smile when appropriate. Move your head, your hands, and your body. Look down if you need to look away for a moment. Never look up at the ceiling.
Following these tips will help you show up in the best possible light! Good luck and as always send me your feedback and comments!