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Media Training: Conquering your fears

  June 2, 2024

You'd like to do media interviews to bring attention to your business.  One thing is stopping you. Fear.  Your mind could go blank.  The reporter may be overly aggressive.  You'll come off ill-informed and nervous-looking. The list could go on and on.  

Just as you would prepare before a boardroom presentation or public speaking event, you need to prep for media interviews.  That's where media training comes in.  A professional can help you prepare what you say and how you say it Tips on camera presence, non-verbal communications and ways to control your nerves are all part of media interview training.  Once you've mastered the basics, you will be more confident facing journalists.  And with each interview you should improve.  

After you're media trained there are additional steps you can take to prepare for interviews...

  • Research the media outlet and the reporter who'll be interviewing you.
  • If you're planning to do TV interviews, practice on-camera at home.  Remember the things you learned during your on-camera mock interviews in the media training session.  Have a friend or loved-one play the role of reporter.  Don't let them be too easy on you though.
  • Plan out what you will wear: clothing, jewelry and make-up.  Men sometimes feel awkward about makeup, even though on-air talent routinely wear it.  If that describes you, consider just translucent powder or blotting papers to keep shine off your face.
  • Minutes before your interview, review your talking points (three to five vital things you want to convey to readers, followers, listeners or viewers). 
  • To calm your nerves, do some deep breathing exercises just before your interview (in a quiet place).  
  • Record your TV interviews so you can rewatch them; noting what you did absolutely right and what you may still need to work on.  Stations often provide links on their websites but it's good to have your own copy to review.  
  • To keep your media skills sharp, an annual media training refresher session is a good idea.  You won't be starting from scratch but building on what you've already learned and are practicing.
  • Become a news consumer if you are not already.  Watch, read, or view interviews with competitors or others in your profession whom you admire.  You can learn not only from what they do right but also from things they do wrong in media interviews.
  • If you are in a high-risk industry, you may need to consult with your legal department before embarking on media interviews.  There may be potential landmines you need to avoid. 

Consider every media interview as an opportunity and not a chore.  Even if you are doing an interview during a business crisis, it can still be an opportunity.  You can set the record straight. But only if you don't let the journalist have all the power.  Interviews are give and take.  If you don't work in at least some of your talking points it is a waste of your time.  

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