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Media Training: Recovering from a terrible interview

  October 6, 2022

You just did a live TV interview, and it didn't go as you hoped it would.  Before you vow to never do another TV interview, consider the following:

  1. It may not have been as bad as you think.  Often an interviewee is her/his own worst critique.  
  2. Give it a day and then review the clip. You can learn a lot from your mistakes.
  3. Give yourself credit for being brave enough to do the interview in the first place.
  4. Surely there is at least one thing you nailed during the interview.  Let that one positive stick in your mind.
  5. Have a media trainer critique it.  Expert correction tips will be very helpful for your next media interview.
  6. Have your media trainer do a mock interview with you covering the same questions.  Why?  Because it gives you an opportunity to practice staying on your messaging.  Practice really does make perfect when it comes to media interviews.
  7. If you made factual errors in the interview, take to social media to get the right info out there for potential clients/customers.
  8. If you said something inappropriate that requires an apology, craft one and disseminate it before more damage is done.

Live TV interviews can go wrong for a number of reasons.  Perhaps you were not fully prepared.  Maybe you arrived at the studio late and all the rushing made you nervous.  Or, it may not have been your fault at all.  Producers, anchors, and reporters have been known to change topics at the last minute.  If there's a breaking news story they think you can speak to, they will spring it on you.  They can shorten or lengthen your segment with little warning. That means you need to adjust your sound bites to fit the time.  

As a long-time network TV news producer, I can tell you things change rapidly when news breaks.  As a guest you need to be able to adapt on the fly.  Before your next interview, craft your talking points in both thirty second and one minute versions.  As for topic changes, check for breaking news yourself just before air. At least you'll know that the focus of your interview could be shifting. You're an expert in your field and that's why they booked you.  Of course your answers would be broad in a situation like this, but they are still interested in what you have to say.

If you are blindsided for no apparent reason, let the journalist know afterward..  This doens't need to be confrontational.  Let them know that you always want to provide their audience with valuable information, but this time due to the changes, the segment wasn't as strong as you'd like.  It's a bit tricky because you want to maintain positive relations and be invited back, but you don't want to let it slide so they figure it doesn't matter.  

Remember every time you do a media interview, it's an opportunity to shine and garner positive attention for your business.  Don't let one bad interview stop you.  Get back on that horse.

Women Media Pros is here to help with private, group and virtual media  training options.



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