What is your story?

This is the eighth in a series of blog posts about what media training trainees think when they come to a session. We talk here about preparing your story.

Guess what? If you go into an interview determined to tell your story rather than sitting there waiting for the next question to be asked, you have to have a story to tell. Duh.  Simple but you might be surprised at the number of people who don’t have a story. They think they can ‘wing it’ in an interview in which they are supposed to represent their organization. Think again; you cannot wing it and be at all certain of success.

It isn’t all that hard to create your story. Good media training will take you through the ways to organize your information and to highlight the major points of your story. Essentially, you are looking for two to three minutes in which you will dominate the interview and during which you will provide all the things you think the reporter should know.

You don’t need big words or complex sentences; you aren’t trying to show off your towering intellect. You need to include the main facts without much embellishment. You need to underline the angle or most important part of your information. This is done in plain language. It’s okay to throw in a few highly descriptive words that will look good in quotes. But overall, your message should be understood by anyone in your audience.

Once you have told your story, you can relax a bit and take questions. If you have provided all the key stuff, the questions probably will be follow-ups to fill in a few gaps.  If you haven’t predicted and covered all the main things, the reporter will ask you about the rest of the story so you do have to leave some room for uncertainty. But good preparation will do the trick most of the time. You will tell your story concisely, in an interesting way and fully enough for most reporters you encounter.


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