This is the sixth in a series of blogs about what media training trainees think when they come to a session. We talk here about preparing for media interviews and how this step is often a stumble. Many people, including top business executives, go into media interviews expecting only to answer questions. They believe an interview is a Q & A in which the interviewer – the reporter usually – sets the agenda and controls the show beginning to end. What a crock!
A media interview is an opportunity for the spokesperson to tell his or her story. The executive’s goal should be to tell the story or to deliver the message in a way that is accurate and honest but which also tells the story in a way that is most constructive for the organization.
For instance, an executive will want to state that his/her company is launching a competitively superior product while the reporter just wants to know what is most interesting about the product. This exec should make the superiority of the product the most interesting thing in the interview. In this way, the exec gives the interviewer what he/she needs and wants while getting the company message across strongly. Everyone wins.
You can’t tell your story your way if all you intend to do is to answer questions. Yet, many trainees think this is the way it works; good media training disabuses them of this notion. Good media training tells spokespersons how to prepare their stories so they don’t have to rely on the media’s Q & A agenda. Good media training prepares the angle that will lead this story. Good media training sets the agenda for the interview and that agenda has to be yours, not theirs.