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Your first TV Interview: What should you do?

There is no doubt being interviewed on television can be nerve-racking.  Most of us dislike having our photo taken at the best of times!  So I understand why being interviewed on camera can be very uncomfortable.  Even more so when the interview is being recorded live in a studio.

For the uninitiated there are lights, monitors, microphones, sound technicians, floor managers, researchers and makeup people coming at you from all directions.  Often the hosts are so busy they don’t get to say hi until that studio red light has switched on and “you’re on”!

Hopefully by that time you’ve prepared your points.  You know your objective and have planned what you’d like to say.  But where to look?????

Placed directly in front of you is a huge monitor showing yours truly in wide screen.  It’s hard not to stare at it.  The producer directed you NOT to look at any of the studio cameras but when you take a seat next to the host it’s hard not to notice the red lights that go on and off indicating when a camera is being used and when it’s not.

My absolute best piece of advice is (unless directed otherwise) to focus on the person asking you the questions.  Try not to worry about what’s going on around you.  If you can focus on the host you are almost guarnanteed to be looking in the right direction.  And when the interview is over stay seated until you are directed to move.  There’s nothing worse than watching a guest trying to leave the set when he or she is still on air.

Media Training Tips: Do’s and Dont’s

There are a a few golden rules when it comes to speaking to journalists.  I’ve put together a list of simple “do’s” and “don’ts”.  Here goes:

Don’t say “as I said before” or “as I was telling you earlier” or “as I explained to your producer” or make any reference to an earlier conversation.

Don’t overuse the journalist’s name.

Don’t refer to the subject as “it”.  It can mean anything and later be taken out of context.

Don’t tell a lie.

Don’t make up an answer or guess.

Don’t over explain.

Don’t exaggerate.

Don’t fill in the gaps or pauses.  Make your point and the stop talking.

Don’t repeat a negative.

Don’t be frightened to show emotion.

Don’t speak off the record.

Do use language that’s descriptive and colourful.

Do use metaphors and analogies to explain your message.

Do repeat a key word or phrase to emphasise your point.

 

Media Training tips: Body language tells its own story.

If you’144013-ian-macdonaldve kept up with the media over the past few months, you’ll have seen former Labor Minister, Ian MacDonald’s smiling face as he has made his way to and from ICAC.  Mr MacDonald is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for (amongst other things) ‘gifting’ a mining licence to a former union boss.

Every day, Mr MacDonald has been required to navigate his way through a hungry media pack and no matter what the line of questioning from journalists or how damning the evidence, Mr MacDonald steps in and out of court grinning from ear to ear.  Perhaps he thinks a big cheesy smile will help convince the public of his innocence; that he’s unfazed by the investigation.

At best I think he looks ridiculous.  The smile reminds me of Batman’s arch enemy the Joker – there is something sinister and false about the grin.

 

And while we’re on the subject of whether grinners really are winners, take a look at another seriel smiler!

Tom Waterhouse-tom waterhouse has also made headlines recently, first for his “advertorial” commentary and gambling tips on Channel 9’s NRL coverage and just last week for his role in the “More Joyous” racing scandal.  Taking an ill advised leaf out of Ian MacDonald’s book, Tom hasn’t yet learnt that it’s ok not to smile for the cameras.

Let me know what you think.  Is the smile a tactical error on Mr MacDonald’s part?  Has it rightly or wrongly influenced the way you’ve interpreted the ICAC investigation so far?  And as for Tom …… I realize in gambling circles it pays to have a poker face but seriously!  Body language and facial expressions tell a story of their own.  Make sure your expressions match the words you are saying and the situation you are in.  If they don’t, you run the risk of looking like a fake.

 

Mediafriendly talks to the Small Business Show

Rachel Friend from Mediafriendly talks to 2RRR’s Small Business Show about the importance of communication in business.  Follow the link to listen to the interview.

Rachel Friend from Mediafriendly talks to the Small Business Show

 

 

Media Training: Essendon Assistant Coach Under Media Fire

It’s hard to believe that Mark Thompson, Essendon’s Assistant Coach would volunteer to sit on a Fox Footy Panel right now without thoroughly preparing for the interview.  Afterall, journalists and sports commentators are circling the club like a school of hungry sharks, wanting answers about the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs following the Government’s investigation into suspicious sports supplements.

Media Lesson Number 1. If you agree to talk to the media on any issue you prepare first.

  • What are your key messages?
  • What are your boundaries?
  • How will you push back on questions that you cannot answer?

The club and some players are currently being officially investigated by ASDA.  This is one of the biggest stories to hit the AFLand when the story broke it made media headlines around the world.

Take a look at this short snippet of Mark Thompson looking awkward and unprepared.

Mark Thompson on Fox Footy

Remember – always weigh up the pros and cons of talking to the media.  What is your objective when you agree to be interviewed and what’s the message you want to get across.

If you don’t know why you are talking or don’t feel confident about getting your message across, you need to ask yourself one important question.  Why am I doing this interview?

Not all publicity is good publicity.  Sometimes a bad interview can totally ruin a brand.

 

 

Media Training Tips: When is an interview really over?

You may have noticed a growing trend for the longer form news programs like Sunday Night on Channel 7 and Sixty Minutes on Channel 9 to film their guests arriving and then leaving their interview. Often the cameraman will have buttoned on so that the cameras can capture the guest arriving. At that point perhaps they will show the guest looking nervous or arriving with a team of PR and support people who would usually stay off camera.
Similarly at the end of an interview the journalist will thank their guest and signal that the interview is over. The cameraman however does not button off. He keeps rolling while the journalist makes idle chit chat. What the producers are hoping is that the guest will say something far more revealing in those final few moments when they think the interview is over.
Take a look at this recent interview with James Magnussen. The journalist is Chris Bath. She thanks James for his time but then throws in one last “empathetic” comment.
Remember – from the time you greet the journalist until the time you actually leave the building you are on the record. Don’t be fooled by these kinds of throw away comments, jokes or asides.

Have a look at the video and let me know what you think.

James Magnussen talks to Sunday Night

 

Media Training Gold: James Magnussen with Emily Seebohm

Following Australia’s very own “Swim Gate” where a reluctant Emily Seebohm was pushed to speak out by journalists on team partying, stilnox abuse and bullying – have a look at this very awkward video posted on Youtube. Watch the body language between Emily and James. James also makes a rather unfortunate admission regarding his friendship with an infamous Australian tennis player.

Media Training: Tony Abbott talks to Leigh Sales

I couldn’t resist posting this interivew.  It’s game, set and match to Leigh Sales.  Expect to be roasted if you don’t prepare for an interview and please don’t ever comment on something you know nothing about!

 

How to deliver a simple key message!

This little story from the Daily Telegraph recently caught my attention. Note how the Police Inspector sticks to his key message about new mobile phone laws.  He gets final say – and I’d suggest police media will be very pleased!

 

Look officer, it’s a Tic Tac box not a phone, says fined teacher Marina Alexiou

A fine mess … Marina Alexiou, from Bondi / Pic: Justin Lloyd Source: The Daily Telegraph

IT was the packet of Tic Tacs that left a bad taste in this Sydney mum’s mouth.

Marina Alexiou claims she was pulled over and issued a $298 fine for handing the lollies to her two children in the backseat – after a police officer mistook the mints for a mobile phone.

The Bondi resident was driving her children to school along Old South Head Rd when she was pulled over at 8.20am. She claims her phone was in her handbag, on the passenger seat, the entire time.

“He pulled me over and said ‘Where’s your phone?’,” said an infuriated Ms Alexiou yesterday. “And I said ‘It’s in my bag’. So I searched in my bag and it was there.

“I just feel gutted.”

Ms Alexiou said even her children told the officer she had been passing them Tic Tacs when she was stopped on December 5. She plans to contest the matter in court.

“What infuriates me the most is that I am a primary school teacher who often calls on police officers to come speak to children at school to help build good relations and diminish the idea that police officers are (just) the people that put baddies to jail but rather that they are people of integrity and people whom you could trust.

“My own children went to school understanding that police officers lie, they intimidate and you can’t trust them.”

A police spokesman said the infringement was issued and said Ms Alexiou could challenge it.

“New mobile phone laws make it quite clear, if you are using a phone without a cradle you will be fined,” said Inspector Phil Brooks.
#keymessage #mediatraining #interviewskills

When repeated messaging can backfire.


A recent report on Lyme Disease for Channel 7′s Sunday Night highlighted the dangers of “over training” for media interviews. The spokesman for NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty was edited to show he repeated what was described in the story as a “well-rehearsed line” over and over again.
Journalists are very cynical about spokespeople who stick so closely to key messages that questions become obsolete.
I’ve attached a link to the Sunday Night story. Watch the way Channel 7 has edited Dr McAnulty. In my opinion Channel 7 has played a fair game. Dr McAnulty and other experts who face the media need to be careful about rote learning key messages prepared for them by PR consultants. Journalists are a wake up to the “stick to my message at all costs” school of media training.
http://au.news.yahoo.com/video/national/watch/28712965/lyme-disease-outbreak/