• Maud Vanhoutte

Media Training - Are you ready for your next interview?


Media training helps you get ready to face the media with confidence.


Do you have to face the media and the journalists? Do you feel ready to speak to the media? Would you like some keys and advice to better deal with the journalists? Media training is not only for celebrities or politicians; media training is for every successful professional or organisation that cares about public relations. In this hyper-competitive environment, leaders must be able to communicate on behalf of their company or institution to external stakeholders. Journalists are constantly looking for interesting and engaging stories they can develop for their audience, be ready to tell yours!


How to avoid being misquoted or quoted out of context?


When trying to get the media’s attention, nothing would be worse than being misquoted or quoted out of context. This usually represents my media training clients’ fear number 1 and that makes sense! You don’t want to spend all this time and effort to end up being misinterpreted.

Your first mission to avoid this common trap is to do your homework; in other words, do your research and come prepared. Before accepting an interview with a journalist, get familiar with this journalist’s work. Use the internet and social media to find out more about the journalist and his or her work. You will also want to focus on the media platform. Look at the style, the topics, and the feedback. You want everything to be aligned with your style and values.

Once you are confident that you found the right journalist and platform, you already reduced by 50% your chances of being misquoted or quoted out of context. To ensure that you have the other 50% covered, try to develop a transparent relationship with the journalist. Before contributing to his or her work, you want to know more about the journalist’s intentions and expected results.

Your final step is to ensure that nothing will be published or edited without your approval and consent.


Understand the language and the priorities of the media


When contributing to a media’s project, ensure that you have a clear understanding of their expected result. Do they want a controversial piece or a unique topic? Are you the only person contributing to their work or are there a few experts or guests? What is the key message that they want to share? It doesn’t always seem like that but journalists are not trying to trap you, they just need to get their audience excited about their work.


How to confidently conduct television, radio and press interviews?


As for many things in life, the first key to confidently conduct television, radio and press interviews is to practice. Do you think you always walked the way you are walking today? Of course, you didn’t, you failed, again and again, and you learned from that. It is the same with most of the new things you are trying, the only difference is that adults aren’t always as resilient as kids and often give up when it becomes challenging.

Practice and repeat your interview as often as you need. Do it by yourself and do it with someone who can provide you with constructive feedback. The best way to know how you did? Record yourself and use the video in 3 steps: first, watch your body language with no sound. Focus on your gestures and body movements. Then, listen to your presentation without the visual. Focus on your voice, intonation and flow. The third and last step is to watch and listen to gather additional feedback.

Final tip: Get inspired by great communicators and look at what they are doing well. What can you learn from them?


Focus on your public speaking and presentation skills


Your message will be very important and you want to prepare it carefully, however, how you will get your message across is just as important. You can share the best information or advice, if you don’t share it with passion and impact, nobody will retain a word. For this step again, the video practice will highly assist you.

You can also collect some feedback from friends and colleagues on how you present. Ask them to be honest and transparent, and, if possible, to provide you with advice and recommendations. Select the right people, you don’t need to hear that you are doing a great job and that nothing needs to be improved; we can also do better.

Final tip: To practice your public speaking skills, you can volunteer to present at your next work function or you can join a toastmaster workshop on meetup.


Focus on your personal presentation and appearance


We shouldn't judge a book by its cover, still, we do. No matter if you are getting ready for a television, radio or press interview, your first impression matters. The journalist will form an idea of who you are and how the interview will go within the first seconds based on your verbal and non-verbal signals. You want to inspire trust and look approachable. Ask yourself the right questions to pick the most appropriate outfit: do you want to look more professional, more serious, more dynamic, more friendly, younger, older… If you are joining a television interview, you will want to pay extra attention to your personal presentation and appearance.

Final tip: Be sure to work on your personal branding and online presence as the media coverage will probably lead people to check your profile.


Manage your stress and speak with confidence


You might already feel nervous about your interview and it is totally fair. Walking in the interview with a bit of stress is only a human reaction; what you don’t want is to stay nervous for the entire interview. As we can ‘hear’ and ‘see’ stress and nervousness, you will only look unsure, losing your credibility and the audience’s trust. A strong preparation with a lot of practice will highly help you reduce your stress. Use the visualisation process to picture yourself successfully nailing the interview with the journalist. A positive mindset will help you expect for the best and that’s what you will get. If you walk to the interview with a negative state of mind, expecting for the worst, that’s what you will provoke.

Final tip: Don’t plan too much for the night before to ensure enough sleep. Treat yourself with a healthy morning routine to properly start the day.

More than the interview itself, your perception is responsible for your nervousness. If you think of something that could challenge you, simply come with options and solutions. Being and staying negative or nervous will not assist you in the preparation process. It is fine to encounter obstacles and doubts but it is not fine to let them overwhelm you. Don’t think problems, think solutions.

Maud Vanhoutte



Contact us:

+61 (0)2 9569 6906

contact@newreflection.com.au

www.newreflection.com.au

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