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.
1. 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.
2. Remember that in most cases, journalists are not out to get you – they just want some decent material to send back to the newsroom.
3. Don’t lie – or go off the record.
4. Be aware of previous negative stories and craft a response.
5. If you need more time, ask for it.
6. Don’t comment on the day’s news – or say anything bad about a former employee or competitor.
7. 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!
8. Add anything you feel has been missed out.
9. Make sure you are available for further information.
10. Ask for a ROT – or recording of the interview.