Meeting the Media: Things to Do
This is the third column in the series on
Meeting the Media. This column and the next one present specific things
you can do to increase the chance of a good interview—one that
communicates your message in a positive way.
Know your audience. Remember, you
are often being interviewed because you are an expert on the subject.
Make your answers understandable to those who are not as informed. Talk
so your Aunt Agnes in Grundy County, Iowa or your old high school chum
in Slapout, Alabama can understand.
Make short, simple and specific
technique helps you get to the “heart of the matter” quickly and it satisfies
the reporter’s desire for “sound bites” needed for both print and voice media.
Respond to a question; then
stop. First, reporters know what information they want for their
stories; respect their time—it’s valuable. Second, your enthusiasm and knowledge
of the subject may lead to unneeded and boring detail. Third, some areas are
better left unexplored—remember: you don’t need to tell everything you know.
Note, however, a future column will discuss ways to bridge to further
information you wish to present.
Discuss only matters of which
you have direct knowledge. First, to do otherwise may mislead;
second, incorrect or incomplete answers may cast doubt on other things you say;
third, many people are turned off by “know it alls.”
Take a second or two to think about your answers. Rapid responses may
appear rehearsed; furthermore, they may not represent your best answer.
Next month we’ll tell more things to do when meeting the media.