Remember The #1 Rule: You’re delivering a message, not answering questions.
Prepare for your media encounter, preparing your messages, the opening statement and your key points of argument. Think about the most effective way of relating your message. Finally, keep ‘The # 1 Rule’ top-o’-mind.
Anticipate. Listen. Then speak.
The most effective way of anticipating the eventual news story is to listen and observe when in an interview. Be an active listener. Watch, listen, then open your mouth.
Stay in control of the exchange.
Remember that the reporter is engaged in the interview with a personal set of biases. You should agree where the premise of the question is correct and do not hesitate to address any misconceptions. Keep your key message uppermost in your mind and, through engaging the reporter, bridge your statements to stay on-message.
Paint a picture, tell a tale and connect.
Communications should be a two-way experience. Engage the interviewer and the audience. You can effectively serve to make a point with recent happenings or your current surroundings, and everything from a timely quirk to an immediate observation. So, appreciate the moment of your interview and be engaging.
Give reporters what they want and they will produce what you want.
Reporters will respond to messaging that is relevant to the audience, is timely in its delivery, touches a nerve as a human interest story, has entertainment value, is factual and/or controversial. Their editors look for a story to display one or more of these elements.