Having a successful press interview goes well beyond gesture, posture and costume. The reality is that in order to have an effective conversation with a journalist, preparation must begin well before the interview is scheduled.
Before taking the plunge to build your brand in the press, you must first know what you want to say and how to say it. My experience has shown me that many people spend a lot of time on the superficial elements and not enough on their content.
So here. Don’t waste thousands of dollars, or your valuable time, for the very basics. Here are my Top 11 pointers that you shouldn’t have to pay an expert for:
1. Don’t wear white on television. It’s too glaring.
2. Move your hands to gesture, but don’t fidget.
3. Speak slowly and clearly.
4. Smile so that you don’t look angry on TV.
5. For television interviews, look at the person speaking to you and not the camera.
6. Make sure the journalist has your correct title and spelling of your name.
7. Sit on the edge of your seat and the bottom of your jacket to keep it from bunching at the shoulders.
8. If there is a microphone around, assume it’s on.
9. You are always on the record unless it is very clear that you are not. Even then, what you say may be used in another context.
10. Powder your nose.
11. Be prepared.
Although important, some believe that these tips are the secret to a successful interview. They are not. Delivering your messages clearly, concisely and honestly are the real measures of success.
Spend your time cultivating relationships with journalists, developing and then simplifying your key messages and learning how to control an interview. Only then will the superficial elements of how to look and sound fall naturally into place. If you want to get your messages across clearly to your audience, think about what you want your audience to hear and remember.
And when you need help understanding how to work with the media and how to develop your sound bites, call in an expert that understands your business as well as media expectations.
Of course there are risks with every press encounter. However, preparing well in advance of the interview and focusing and rehearsing your talking points will help you better navigate and control the interview and enable you to communicate effectively with your audience. And look good doing it.