Answer plus one: To ensure you maintain control of the interview, don’t just answer the question. Your objective must always be to communicate your key messages. Use the questions as an opportunity to make your points. This is called ‘answer plus one’. In other words, answer the question then add one of your key messages or key issues outlined in your game plan.
Answer in your own time: The journalist is interested in what you have to say, so don’t get flustered if you can’t think of an answer immediately. Just take your time, collect your thoughts and take a deep breath before you answer.
Don’t be afraid of silence: Some journalists use it as a technique in the hope you will fill the silence with unplanned information. Silence can be powerful and there is no need to fill it.
The “no comment” rule: Don’t say “no comment” as it implies confirmation of the question. The audience will interpret it as guilt or a cover up. The rule of thumb for responding is to explain why you can’t respond and use one of your key messages. For example, “I can’t respond directly to that for legal reasons, however, what I can tell you is…”
However, never allow wrongful allegations to stand. If the journalist says something wrong, correct them immediately. Do not repeat the incorrect information or question. If you do, it will only reinforce it.
Don’t use jargon: Every industry has its own jargon. Remember who your target audience is and communicate in language they will understand. Also, don’t assume that the journalist is trained in your specific area of expertise, and as a result, they may not understand your jargon.
Use your customers as testimonials: Depending on the topic of the interview, it may be effective to use one of your valued customers to validate your key messages. You would have to ensure that they are comfortable speaking to the media. Often this is an effective way of illustrating your point and helps your audiences understand and identify with you.
Most importantly – have fun: The interview is a wonderful opportunity to promote your business, product or yourself. Take control, prepare and enjoy every moment.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.