The importance of asking those difficult questions only a journalist would ask.
What really counts
As a former BBC and ITN journalist with more than twenty-five years’ experience in media training, I am keenly aware that not all sessions are the same.
Too often media training focuses on what to wear, how to sit – and working on those all-important key messages. However, while this is important, what really counts is recreating the interview scenario and asking the delegates the tough questions a real reporter would want the answers to.
There is nothing like having a microphone shoved into your face to induce a sense of mind-freezing panic.
But by practising this scenario in training, even the most nervous of interviewees can come across confidently.
- Don’t be afraid of the interview…think of it as a golden opportunity. But make time to run through your points beforehand with a colleague or friend.
- Remember that in most cases, journalists are not out to get you – they just want some decent material to send back to the newsroom.
- Don’t lie – or go off the record.
- Be aware of previous negative stories and craft a response.
- If you need more time, ask for it.
- Don’t comment on the day’s news – or say anything bad about a former employee or competitor.
- Don’t relax just because they have put down their notebook, or the camera has been turned off. You may say something controversial that you’ll regret later!
- Add anything you feel has been missed out.
- Make sure you are available for further information.
- Ask for a ROT – or recording of the interview.