If there’s a mic anywhere near you always assume its on! Watch what you say both before, during and after the interview or press conference. Fortunately for this sportsman his slip up was embarrassing (for him) and endearing (for his audience). No damage done!
In our media training workshops, we will often get through an entire practice interview without a single mention of the organisation, or product the interviewee is there to talk about. When you have questions being fired at you it’s easy to forget exactly why you are there.
Even more surprising are the number of people we’ve worked with who have struggled to articulate exactly what their organisation does!
So how do you ensure your brand message comes through? Here are some tips to help with your interview preparation.
- Who are you/your company?
Who you are may relate to your vision and mission. Who do you want to be and how do you plan to leave your mark? These messages embody the core of your being, your values, and your competitive advantages.
- What do you do?
In basic terms, clearly and succinctly articulate what product or service you offer or provide to your clients. This isn’t a sales pitch so stick to the facts.
- What benefit do you bring to the audience?
Tell it as if someone else, an objective third party, was sharing it with a friend or colleague. It’s easier to trust that third-party voice, and it’s the same voice journalists write in, so it may help your story get picked up if your message is well-crafted.
- What evidence do you have to support your position?
This could be in the form of awards, recognition or testimonials from your best clients. Anything you can offer to validate your claims will enhance your credibility.
Once you have the messaging developed, it becomes your bible to inform and influence all content development, from your website to a media kit and the boilerplate of press releases. It will also play into advertising content, if you place paid media. So now there’s a consistent voice across all platforms: earned (editorial), owned (website and social media) and paid (advertising).
As we all know an apology is about so much more than the word ‘sorry’. It’s about tone of voice. It’s about body language. Does the person offering the apology look and sound sorry?
When Geoff Huegill faced the media pack camped outside his home recently to apologise over his arrest for alleged drug possession, one can only imagine how uncomfortable and nervous he must have been. It was a brave thing to do.
But … watching his apology on the 6pm news I was struck both by the language he used and the smirk on his face. He described the episode as a ”commotion” and then smiled directly into camera as he delivered his “I’m sorry” speech.
Body language and tone of voice MUST match the words you say – otherwise your audience just won’t buy the message.
Here’s hoping Geoff takes a big dose of humility before his court appearance in a few weeks. I actually have no doubt he really is sorry. He shouldn’t be afraid to show that.
As for the big, black get away car …. it might be a good idea to trade it in for something more discreet and inconspicuous. A humble Mazda would do the trick.
I made my debut last night on Paul Murray Live – broadcast nightly at 9pm on SKY News.
I enjoyed some “robust” discussion with Gary Hardgrave, Jamilia Rizvi and Mitch Catlin on issues including Tony Abbott’s “sex appeal” slip, PEFO, Holden pay cuts and more.
Here’s the link to the podcast.
When it comes to media training there are loads of examples of what NOT to do. Politicians usually star in these blooper reels, followed by ill prepared business people and stupid sports stars.
I’m often asked for examples where interviewees have done particularly well … Where they have confidently delivered their key messages and yet remained authentic and believable.
John Borghetti, CEO of Virgin Australia, is one of my favourite media performers. He is calm, compelling and on message. Here is a link to a fairly relaxed interview with The Bottom Line.
I’ve also got to give a gold star to Olivia Wirth from Qantas. Even when under siege by the media she is able to stay calm and focused on her Qantas key messages.
And whilst politicians usually get a bad wrap I have to applaud Anna Bligh who went from villain to hero thanks to her media performance throughout the 2011 Queensland floods. It wasn’t enough to win her an election however I think people really respected her honesty and her leadership through what was a catastrophic time for Queensland.
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.