Executive Development November 7, 2018

Journey Tip of the Month—November 2018

By Mara Brazer Journey Advisor

Five Tips to Prepare Your Key Messages for Media Interviews

You’ve just been asked to speak to a reporter as an expert in your field or as a spokesperson for your company. What now? Preparing in advance for your interview ensures you will put your best foot forward (and not in your mouth). The following are a few tips to help you prepare 3-5 key messages for your upcoming media interview:

PREPARATION: TALKING POINTS

  1. Research and understand the content and reach of the publication and the reporter who is interviewing you. Find out what kind of articles they have written in the past and how they have utilized spokespersons or quoted expert sources. Are they friendly or hostile? A rookie or experienced at interviews?

  2. The most important thing to consider is: who is your audience? Will the media coverage reach decision-makers in your industry? Boards of directors who could nominate you for open board seats? The general business community? Your messages, which make up your core talking points, need to speak to that audience and address their needs. Also know what you need from the audience—if you are seeking a board position, speak like a board member who understands good governance and has vision.

  3. Depending on the subject of the interview, develop 3-5 succinct and memorable messages about the subject matter, yourself, and/or your company that must be made during the conversation. Support these messages with “proof points” or anecdotes that illustrate your core point—especially if they provide colorful sound bites or quotes.

  4. Every interview (and speech) is an opportunity to communicate your specific messages to your target audiences—and get the facts straight. Take time to craft your messages, practice them, and ensure you are delivering the information in a clear and concise way.

  5. Each time the reporter asks you a question, rather than allowing the reporter to take you down an irrelevant or difficult path, weave the message points into your answers or redirect the question so you can respond with relevant messages and ensure what you want to say is included in the article.

Athena Journey Advisor Mara Brazer helps Athena Aspiring Directors develop a “visibility strategy and plan” to determine their best professional positioning and become more publicly visible through traditional and social media, speaking opportunities, and contributed content. She has media trained dozens of executives to face media interviews with confidence and control, whether for a crisis, news, or feature story.