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Media Training: Mistakes Happen

  March 13, 2022

You're sharing your story with the media in hopes of sparking the public's attention.  Your ultimate goal is to grow your customer base.  You are set on your messaging and off you go to a local TV station for an interview on the morning show.  You want to be perfect.  That's a lot of pressure to put on yourself--especially if you are new to media interviews.

Try adjusting your thinking a bit. 

  • You don't need to be perfect to get your message across.
  • If you make a major mistake, gracefully correct yourself.  For example: "I'd like to clarify what I said a minute ago about ..."
  • If you misspeak about a minor detail don't worry about it.
  • If you don't realize your error until after the interview, let your interviewer know.  Why? Your story might be posted to the station's website or social media sites and you don't want the wrong information duplicated there.
  • You can also post to your own social media sites and correct yourself there.
  • Even the most seasoned journalists flub their copy at times.  I'm not talking about someone who trips over his words all the time, but a professional who has a bad moment. Station blooper tapes are filled with this stuff.
  • The most important thing about making an on-air mistake is not to let it throw you off so much that the entire interview becomes a disaster.  
  • If you have managed to work in at least a couple of your talking points, you've done well.  You never want to end any media interview and realize you've answered the reporter's questions but you didn't get to any of your real messaging.

What if you aren't the one getting something wrong during your interview?  Perhaps the anchor calls you by the wrong name.  Or, there's a factual error in her introduction of you.  You have to think quickly.  You want to correct her mistake but you don't want to embarrass or even anger your interviewer.  Begin my thanking her for inviting you before pointing out any error.  Again, if it's minor you might want to let it go.  

Some parting advice: if your live interview truly does not go well, don't show your anger or frustration on the spot.  Wait until you exit the building to let your emotions show.  Then chalk it up as a learning experience.  Practice, practice, practice and next time you'll be more at ease and able to tell your story in a more compelling and concise way.  

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Media Mistakes

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