Embracing the spotlight: how to make an interview your own

Media Training

Staff Writer 12 Apr 2022
4 mins

With consumption of news at an all time high in Australia, there would be few in business that underestimate the importance of a positive interaction with the media. 

But at the same time, news organisations and journalists remain in the unenviable ranks of the most untrusted professions in the country, making those media interactions even more crucial when it comes to a maintaining a company’s good reputation. 

Some would say the media mistrust is simply a by-product of the age of social media and self-publishing, where false information is often weaponised as ‘fake news’, and opposing viewpoints are easily dismissed as political propaganda. 

For others, it’s more a symptom of the 24-7 news cycle, as political scandals and noteworthy events are only perceived as current for a day or two before they are superseded by the next headline-grabbing development. 

The latest research by Roy Morgan found that more than 20 million Australians continue to read the news, with the majority of them doing so digitally. 

Social media use is also exploding, with Datareportel sharing in October 2021, that 400 million new users had joined a social media platform within the previous 12 months.  

The big issue is Australians are becoming increasingly sceptical of what they are reading. 

As journalists prioritise being first to report, instead of making sure what’s reported is accurate, those that believe the media is trustworthy has plunged to just 21 per cent of Australian respondents in the latest Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Index. 

What does that mean for you (and your company)?  

For business, the disparity between media consumption and trustworthiness means it is more important than ever to communicate the right message. 

With so many people tuned in and ready to consume, it means business leaders need to be increasingly agile and aware to find new ways to connect with their audience.  

Making sense of the media can transform your reputation, build trust with your audience, and help you take control of how your message is received.   

Which all sounds great, but it’s not as easy as putting forward your best public speaker.   

What to avoid (hint: it’s not the question)  

Take a moment to think about how you consume the media.   

When watching an interview or a press conference, it’s easy to be a little bit judgemental, right?   

Too many ‘umms’ or ‘uhhs’ can be distracting and take away attention from your main points. But it can be much worse than that.   

One of the most common mistakes people make in front of the camera is failing to answer the question.   

Whether that’s a result of the pressure that comes with looking down the lens or a lack of preparedness for the interview, not giving a clear and concise answer can be enough to make you seem ill-informed or like you’ve got something to hide.    

European Managing Director of Blackberry, Stephen Bates, does a great job of completely ignoring the question and sticking to his script – certainly not ideal when your audience is waiting for the answers.  

Turning the pressure into passion  

It’s much easier to do a bad job in this scenario, than a good one.  

Knowing what to expect from an interviewer and being prepared for the challenges they may throw your way can allow you to take the story into your own hands and share your own message.   

 An interview that appeared to be an attempt to highlight the mistakes of Iceland Foods, was turned into a huge success by Managing Director, Richard Walker who took control of the question and shared the real message his company was aiming to convey.   

Twitter quickly exploded with praise for Walker, boosting the profile of Iceland Foods and even bringing some new customers on board:  

What media training can do for you  

Whether your company has rumours to refute or positive news to share, media readiness can be the key to success.  

Media training will assist with the preparation required for high impact presentation delivery that will grab your attention and focus of your key messages.  

Purple’s incoming Board Chair Karen Brown, believes that when it comes to coping with the throat-constricting, gut-churning feeling of facing the cameras, there is no question that practice is your friend.  

“Just as companies regularly stress test their safety and operating systems to ensure they are fit for purpose; company spokespeople also need to have their skills constantly tested and improved.”  

Being well prepared and well trained to deal with a range of different scenarios can ensure you can focus on the situation or the crisis you are confronting without having to worry about the skills you need to communicate your message.   

Regular and realistic training sessions, which allow executives to learn from their stumbles in a safe environment, can mean the difference between success and failure when a critical incident occurs.  

How we can help  

Purple’s experienced trainers will help you understand how to (and how not to) engage across the modern media landscape.  

Our skills training is delivered by experienced journalists with backgrounds in broadcast, print and social media, and has been used to build the capacity of established and emerging corporate leaders, preparing them for any media situation.  

Our coaching will provide you with scenario preparation, providing the opportunity to present an on-camera or on-microphone dry-run, and critique your delivery and messaging.  

Contact our team here.   

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