Media interviews are something that most business owners struggle with, regardless of how confident they are. In this article Quadrant Media Training provide you with a number of tips that you can use to ensure you get what you want from media interviews.

Have a plan before entering the interview

Before entering an interview, you must first have an idea of what you want to see in the resulting media coverage. What is the key message that you want to communicate to your audience?  If you enter an interview and just answer questions without thinking about the messages you want to communicate, you will give all control of the interview to the journalist. Set aside some time before the interview to decide upon key messages that you want to relay and what you would like to achieve as a result of the interview.

Never answer a question with ‘no comment’

In any media interview with any journalist, never use the words “no comment”. In using these words you will make it look as though you are hiding something. Take a deep breath and think before answering complicated questions. Think of an answer that isn’t going to come back to bite you. With your input, your PR team should prepare you for questions such as this.

Have accurate facts to back up your answers

Anyone can answer a question, but if you provide accurate facts and cite the sources from which you got them, you will sound a lot more credible. With this in mind, it pays to do your research before entering the interview. If you provide inaccurate facts, people may doubt any statements or comments that you make in the future.

Consider professional media training

When you consider how important it is for you or your business to be portrayed well in the media, it’s definitely worth having media training. A media training company will be able to improve your confidence, show you how to counteract negative questions and teach you a number of techniques that you can use when you are being interviewed by journalists.

Be wary of questions that are asked with the intention of catching you out

Some questions are asked with the intention of painting you in a negative light no matter how you answer them. One tip is to answer the question briefly and then create a bridge from the question to the message that you want to communicate to the audience. For example, if a reporter asks you “Have you stopped ripping off customers?” answer the question with “We never started ripping off customers”.  If you answer the question with ‘we never rip people off’, the headline could potentially read “Example Company denies ripping people off”.

Be aware that silence from the reporter is often a ploy for you to offer more information

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and is still used by many journalists as a way to trick you into offering more information.  Keep silent until you have been answered another question. Relax and wait until they have finished making a note of what you said, this will also help to ensure that they don’t misquote what you say.

Feel free to offer more information at the end of the interview

At the end of a media interview, most reports will ask you if there is anything else that you would like to add. This is the perfect opportunity to cover stuff that the reporter has not asked you about. If you have conveyed your key messages, repeat them to ensure that the reporter has not misquoted them or missed them out.