A media interview is a great way to get your messaging out to a wide audience. But that will only happen if you take some control of the interview and stay on message. It is easy to get knocked off message when a reporter asks questions you do not really want to answer. You need to learn how to bridge from whatever question is asked back to your messaging in your response. It takes practice to get good at this and that's why media training is important for so many people. It's not just for politicians.
It is not about being evasive, although politicians can certainly come off as such. It is about making sure at least some of your messaging makes its way into the conversation. If you do an interview and realize you did not get one single chance to say something you wanted to say, you've wasted your time.
Live TV interviews can be particularly intimidating if you do not have experience in front of the camera. Lots of thoughts are racing through your mind. Where do I look? Am I speaking too rapidly? Will I embarrass myself and my company? And of course, will I remember my messaging? All this can result in a case of nerves that may derail your interview. Just as you prepare for important presentations in the board room, you need to prepare for media interviews.
It's understandable that busy executives don't always see the need for media training. Some come into our media training sessions almost kicking and screaming. I am pleased to say the vast majority leave with a better understanding of media relations, more confidence for doing interviews, and useful tips and tools to help them stay on message--in the media and in the board room.