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How to win the hearts and souls of your audience through effective media interviews. TODAY’S GOALS. Gain control and confidence dealing with the media Establish consistency and credibility in communicating your organization’s messages through bridging

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today s goals
TODAY’SGOALS

Gain control and confidence dealing with the media

Establish consistency and credibility in communicating your organization’s messages through bridging

Deepen knowledge of the media and how it works

slide4

"The underlying theme here is the pressure that today’s minute-by-minute, Web-driven, do-more-with-less news culture puts on reporters and editors. The financial and competitive pressures are so intense that journalists are always looking over their shoulders, reading the competition obsessively. This leaves too little time for reflection, for standing back and asking what is really worth writing and what isn’t." - Patrick B. Pexton, Ombudsman, Washington Post, March 18 2011

what do reporters want
WHAT DO REPORTERS WANT?
  • Stories that sell
  • Relevancy
  • Something different
  • Simplicity
  • Examples
slide6

REPORTER ADVANTAGES

  • Asks the questions
  • Preconceived story angle
  • Writes the story
  • Controls the elements
  • Controls the editing
slide7

YOUR ADVANTAGES

  • You decide what to say and how to say it
  • You have the expertise
  • You don’t control the questions, but you do control the answers.
  • They only write about the answers
  • The questions are platforms for your messages
the interview keys to success
THE INTERVIEW – Keys to Success
  • The Right Message
    • Make sure the words are right
  • The Right Technique
    • Make sure the words get out
  • The Right Style
    • It’s not only about the words
one big takeaway it s not about the questions
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE QUESTIONS

“Does anyone have any questions for my answers”

– Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

“I think I heard someone ask me about…”

– Charles de Gaulle

it s an interview not a conversation or a deposition
IT’S AN INTERVIEW, NOT A CONVERSATIONOR A DEPOSITION
  • Go from A to C, not A to Z
  • The more you ramble, the more control you lose
  • No requirement to answer the questions literally
  • Address the theme of the question
  • Message delivery, not responsiveness, is the key
  • Look at the reporter but think about the audience
  • Message clarity, not reporter happiness, is the goal
it s your interview take control
IT’S YOUR INTERVIEW – Take Control
  • Use your language, not theirs
  • Assert the positive and don’t repeat negatives
  • Stay on message to resist digression and irrelevance
  • Don’t follow the interviewer, lead the interview
reporters are conduits not the audience
REPORTERS ARE CONDUITS, NOT THE AUDIENCE
  • Convincing them is good, convincing the reader/viewer is better
  • Interviews are not debates; stay on message
  • Be reasonable in arguments and demeanor
  • Don't take questions personally or let them get in the way of your story
say the most important things not everything
SAY THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS, NOT EVERYTHING
  • People want to know what time it is, not how the watch was made – especially on TV
  • State your premise and analysis first, then back it up with evidence
  • You know too much, they know too little – don’t let them choose
  • They’re not writing encyclopedias or filming mini-series.
how to prepare for interviews
HOW TO PREPARE FOR INTERVIEWS
  • Anticipate the issues, not just the questions
    • If I’m asked about X, I’m going to talk about Y
  • Develop answers
    • There are no bad questions, only bad answers
  • Practice your key messages
    • Internalize them till they not only sound, but are, natural
  • Rehearse out loud
    • You always sound better with your mouth closed
have 2 or 3 messages
HAVE 2 OR 3 MESSAGES
  • Decide in advance what is most important to convey
  • Colorful language, apt metaphors, interesting points
  • Thousands of words spoken; only a few are quoted
  • Quotable language helps you write/edit story

“I didn’t use him in the article, although I tried. He was a smart guy but didn’t speak in quotes.”

- John Markoff, The New York Times

what makes a message effective
WHAT MAKES A MESSAGE EFFECTIVE

A great message has three characteristics. It is:

  • Clear – it’s understood by your audience(s)
  • Credible – it’s believed
  • Persuasive – it changes thinking
what makes a message clear
WHAT MAKES A MESSAGE CLEAR
  • Brevity
    • “I shall return”
  • Simplicity
    • “Warm bucket of spit”
  • Humanity
    • Analogies, metaphors and images people see and “get”
what makes a message credible
WHAT MAKES A MESSAGE CREDIBLE
  • Facts/Proof points
  • Common sense
  • It’s consistent with experience
  • Third party validation
what makes a message persuasive
WHAT MAKES A MESSAGE PERSUASIVE
  • An appeal to the heart as well as mind
  • The emotion with which it’s conveyed
  • Making it relevant to the audience
repeat the messages
REPEAT THE MESSAGES
  • Repetition is redundant – and effective
  • The more you say it, the more important it becomes
  • The more you say it, the better it may sound
  • The more you say it, the more likely they will get it
the interview visualize the story then talk it
The InterviewVisualize the Story – Then Talk It
  • What’s the headline/lead you want to see
  • What are the facts that support the theme
  • Give examples that bring the facts to life
    • They’re called “stories” for a reason
    • Tell one that brings the subject to life
the interview structuring your answers
THE INTERVIEWStructuring Your Answers
  • Situation/Problem – What’s going on
  • Action/Solution – What you are doing about it
  • Application – How your actions affect the audience
the interview your first answer
THE INTERVIEWYour First Answer
  • First, say thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
  • Then, whatever the question, give your “elevator” speech
    • Your best chance to establish context
    • Your best chance to get all messages in
  • Take control from the start
the interview first say nothing
THE INTERVIEWFirst, Say Nothing
  • Pausing helps you focus
  • Say the second thing that comes to mind
    • The first responds and defends
    • The next asserts and explains
the interview be positive
THE INTERVIEWBe Positive
  • Don’t repeat negative language
    • Denials give reporters license to injure
    • Negatives should come from others
      • Wrong: “No, this is not an impossible goal…”
      • Right: “We know how to do these things, we just have to make up our collective minds to do them…”
the interview your other answers
THE INTERVIEWYour Other Answers
  • A question isn’t properly answered unless you:
    • Address the reporter’s subject
    • Tie it to one of your key messages
  • Answer the question you have interpreted, not the one you were asked
the interview the mission is transition
THE INTERVIEWThe Mission Is Transition
  • Find common ground
    • Pick the word you want and run with it
    • Pick the thought you want and expand upon it
    • Pick the question you want and answer it
  • Acknowledge the question, but move quickly, credibly to your message
    • Focus on transition
    • View each question as a ‘topic area’
using bridges
USING BRIDGES

“That’s important because…”

“Let me put that in perspective…”

“And don’t forget…”

“That’s important to remember, however…”

“That’s an interesting question, but…”

“Yes, but…”

“That’s a good point, but what is equally important is…”

“No, but what I can tell you is…”

“What that means is…”

the interview flagging
THE INTERVIEWFlagging
  • Underscore most important points
    • What’s obvious to you may not be to others
  • Stress key takeaways with phrases like:
    • “The essential point to remember is…”
    • “The most exciting thing this quarter is…”
    • “When you focus on…”
    • “What this boils down to is…”
the interview hooking
THE INTERVIEWHooking
  • End answer with hint of something intriguing/useful
    • “and those are only some of the developments we’re working on”
    • “that’s one of the two biggest mistakes they are making”
    • “we want to take additional steps to keep progress going”
summary interview rules do s
SUMMARY INTERVIEW RULES: DO’S
  • Stay on message
  • Be assertive and positive
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Put things in context
  • Support your claims with data
  • Speak in layman’s terms, not jargon
  • Stick to what you know
  • Read the morning papers
interview rules dont s
INTERVIEW RULES: DONT’S
  • Don’t do an interview till you’re ready
  • Don’t speak for anyone else
  • Don’t say what you don’t know
  • Don’t end the silences
  • Don’t lose your cool
  • Don’t speculate or answer hypotheticals
  • Don’t be sarcastic/ironic
  • Don’t say “no comment”
television
TELEVISION
  • Television is a medium that allows for fewer complexities and less subtleties than print interviews.
  • Style and technique matter almost as much as content
  • You have very little time and only one chance to get your key message across – so PREPARE
slide34

IT’S MOSTLY NOT ABOUT THE WORDS

  • The more they like you, the more they believe you
  • Content = 10 percent
  • Voice = 30 percent
  • Persona = 60 percent
you get style points too
YOU GET STYLE POINTS, TOO
  • Relax.
  • Be yourself.
  • Talk conversationally
  • Use short answers rather than long ones
  • Answer in complete sentences
  • - “What is the book really about?”
  • -“[The book is] a roadmap for society as we try to save energy and provide for the new economy…”
you get style points too1
YOU GET STYLE POINTS, TOO
  • Be polite, but not a doormat
    • Wait your turn and don’t interrupt
    • Make sure others do the same
  • Be assertive, not defensive
    • You should have answers for virtually everything
  • Be engaging -- It’s caring, not acting – and you do it every day
  • Keep your cool
    • Calm = Confident and increases likeability
conducting a television interview
CONDUCTING A TELEVISION INTERVIEW
  • Eyes on the interviewer (studio)
    • Shifts in any direction imply discomfort, deception
  • Be Mona Lisa during the question
    • Nodding = assent; Frowning = disagreement
  • Natural hand movement ok if it’s not distracting
    • Better to keep hands out of sight, fingertips touching
  • Sit forward in the chair and lean into the interviewer
conducting a television interview1
CONDUCTING A TELEVISION INTERVIEW
  • Don’t be distracted by interviewer’s expressions, or activity around you
    • Resist temptation to keep talking if the reporter doesn’t respond to an answer
  • When you’re interrupted during an answer politely ask for the opportunity to answer the question
  • Immediately and politely correct any inaccurate information in a question
the eye never closes
THE EYE NEVER CLOSES
  • Assume the camera is always rolling
  • The camera is always rolling
  • No idle chit chat when the crew is packing up
  • Remain alert during “cutaways” after interview
at the end
AT THE END
  • Always take the opportunity to repeat your messages one more time
  • The elevator speech that had no context at the beginning should be better understood at the end
  • Remember to thank the interviewer
  • Remain courteous, charming and on your guard until they are out of earshot.