Media Training: Seven Ways to Instantly Improve Your Media Interviewing Skills

Imagine if you were going to address a stadium full of people. You'd probably spend hours (if not days or weeks) agonizing over every word you were going to say. You'd practice your gestures in the mirror. You'd carefully select your clothing. You might even rehearse with your family.

Surprisingly, though, many spokespeople don't give much thought to an interview before speaking to a reporter. "It's only one person," they may think, "Plus, I know my material cold."

Preparing for a media interview ? during which you may reach many more people than could fit in a stadium ? should be at least as important as preparing a speech for that rowdy crowd.

Here are seven ways you can help prepare before you speak to a member of the press:

1. Visualize An Audience of One -- Reporters are simply the conduit between you and the audience. Don't try to impress a journalist with the depth of your technical knowledge or envision an audience of thousands. Instead, visualize the woman listening to news radio on her drive home or the man sitting on his living room sofa reading the morning paper. That personal connection will help ensure that you're having a conversation with the audience instead of speaking at them.

2. Write Tomorrow's Headline -- Every time you give an interview, the reporter should walk away with a clear sense of what the headline will be ? and you should be the person who gives it to her. Prior to each interview, write down your perfect headline. It should be short ? no longer than a sentence ? and completely compelling. During the interview, state your headline several times, and place as many of your other answers as possible within the context of that headline.

3. Play Bridge -- Reporters rarely ask the "perfect question" that allows you to deliver your ideal headline. Therefore, you'll have to seamlessly segue to your point. After answering a reporter's question directly, bridge to your headline by saying something such as, "But I think the most important thing here is..." or "The bigger picture is that...."

4. Help Them See It -- Since people are barraged with more information than they can retain, raw numbers and statistics rarely stick. Instead of just delivering information without context, develop a more user-friendly metaphor. For example, instead of saying that 4.5 million people have Alzheimer's disease, say that more Americans have Alzheimer's disease than Colorado does people.

5. Be a Layman -- Every profession has its own set of acronyms, specialized terms, and jargon that is not understood by the general public. Successful spokespeople know they have to express complicated thoughts simply to ensure their message resonates. Use metaphors, analogies and anecdotes to help make your point. If you're stuck, try explaining your topic in simple terms to your 12-year-old nephew until he understands it.

6. Accentuate the Positive -- If a reporter asks you an innocuous question, repeat back the question in the beginning of your answer. For example, "How is the weather today?" should be answered with, "The weather is beautiful today," instead of just, "Beautiful." Since a reporter's question is unlikely to be included in the story, speaking in complete sentences allows the journalist to quote an entire self-contained thought.

7. Eliminate the Negative -- If you are asked a negative question, such as, "Has your organization ever broken the law," do not answer by saying, "Our organization has never broken the law." Doing so connects illegal activity and your organization in the same sentence ? something you never want to do. Instead, frame your answer in positive terms by saying, "We are confident that we have always complied with the law."

Brad Phillips is the founder and president of Phillips Media Relations (http://www.PhillipsMediaRelations.com). He was formerly a journalist for ABC News and CNN, and also headed the media relations department for the second largest environmental group in the world.

In The News:


7 Reasons You Want Referral Business and How to Get Them

Studies have proven that there is one reason why people... Read More

7 Tips on How To Prepare for Business Events

Are you scratching your head after business events wondering why... Read More

Top 7 Reasons You Should Back Up Your Data Online!

How much is your data worth to you? In this... Read More

#1 Key To Select Right Business Partner

Having business partner or planning to start a business with... Read More

Get Your Mailing Noticed - Seven Tips for Effective Direct Mail Pieces

When sending mail to clients and potential clients, make your... Read More

Event Planning: Seven Best Practices Successful Planners Use

Do you plan events for the corporate world like product... Read More

Shaking Your Money Tree: Seven Ways to Make Quick Cash

Does your business have a money tree you can shake... Read More

The Ten Best Kept Secrets For Protecting Your Business Property Against Theft

1. Locks and Padlocks ? Locks on all outside entrances... Read More

Ten Tips to Build a Culture of Inspirational Leadership

Leadership, leadership development and leadership training are "Hot" issues in... Read More

Top Ten Ways to Manage Interruptions

So many people I worked with said they got more... Read More

Managing Your Major Sales - 7 Steps That Could Change The Way You Pursue Business

Ever lost a sale you thought was in the bag?... Read More

10 Great E-Commerce Businesses You Can Start Now

If you've been thinking of starting a business on the... Read More

Famous Business Strategies

Either simply a looker-on or a player in the world... Read More

The Top 7 Marketing Tips You Dont Want To Overlook

1. Combine Emotion and LogicConsumers buy because the want to... Read More

7 Ways To Profit From Other Peoples Products

If you don't possess the time, money or inclination to... Read More

7 Ways To Make A GREAT First Impression!

1. Focus on the other Being known as a... Read More

Top 10 Ways to Use Quotations to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive!

Most people have at least one favorite quotation from a... Read More

Top 7 Tips For Writing Your Marketing Plan

A lot of people are at a loss when it... Read More

10 Steps for Business Owners to Take if They Are a Victim of Identity Theft

Be aware that 40 million crooks obtained credit card numbers... Read More

The Top Ten Ways to Stop Procrastinating Now

10. Procrastination Condemnation - Lose the Labels! All those things... Read More

After Hurricane Katrina - Seven Things You Can Do

If you are like me, you are living some distance... Read More

Tips to Starting your Own Busniess

The 9-to-5 grind can make you feel like a just... Read More

7 Keys to Running a Successful Business

Although dentistry may appear to be different than other types... Read More

How to Counsel Your Non-Performing Team Members - 10 Tips

Counselling non-performing team members is a tough part of any... Read More

The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make Managing Organisational Performance

mistake #1: rely just on financial statementsProfit and loss, revenue... Read More