We’ve been running London media training sessions since 1989.
From Millbank to Marylebone and from Soho to Southwark.
It’s a global city bustling with stories and soundbites.
And there are hundreds of media outlets ready to share them with the world.
Of course, standing in the way of coverage for you or your brand is a journalist’s questions.
You’ve got to consider your words, eye contact, body language, and tone of voice.
Here are three other tips to remember.
This tip has caught out Prime Ministers and global leaders.
Remember Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted woman’ comment? Caught on camera (and a live microphone).
Sainsbury’s former CEO singing ‘We’re In the Money’ ahead of a merger interview? Caught on camera.
Even I’ve been caught by a still-rolling camera on a national TV bulletin.
The lesson here is simple.
Wait until the camera is completely off.
I’m confident people will keep getting this wrong until the end of time.
It’s such an easy mistake to avoid, though.
And in a world of 24/7 social media, there’ll always be someone ready to post your blooper.
So keep quiet and avoid reacting until you’re off-mic and off-camera.
There are lies we tell ourselves about nailing media interviews.
One of these is that, by using the journalist’s name, we’re being friendly with them.
And by doing so, we’ll get an easier ride.
An audience sees through this, though, as an attempt at flattery.
It also gives the journalist an editing problem.
If we want to use your answer in a later bulletin, we’ve got to edit the name out.
Or, if we’re unable to do that, we eat up crucial seconds explaining to whom you were talking.
Or, even worse, we’re forced to credit a colleague for doing the interview for us.
Save all parties the hassle by keeping the name out.
“That’s a great question.”
How many times have you heard someone respond like that?
I’ve lost count.
And what does it add to the interview?
Similarly to point #2, it’s another lie we tell ourselves.
“I’ll buy myself time to think if I stall,” we hear on our courses.
The problem is that an audience sees it as exactly that: stalling.
So here’s the solution: pause.
Here’s Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doing that for 21 seconds.
All the headlines afterwards were about the pause rather than his answer.
Because he gave himself time to consider a great response to a very tricky question.
The answer was so good it failed to create a headline or cause a stir.
Dealing with the media comes down to two things.
Technique and practice.
We cover both in our media training courses.
We’ll begin with the technique before giving you a real-life scenario to deal with.
We’ll record broadcast interviews with you and watch them back to see how they went.
Are you happy with the quotes you gave? How about the headline we’ve chosen?
If this sounds like a training that you’d benefit from, get in touch to book a session.
Let us put you through your paces.
Colin Stone is Communications Lead at Pink Elephant.
Read more about his broadcasting career here.
All photos in London media training blog by Pink Elephant Communications.
London media training blog written by Colin Stone.
London media training blog edited by Andrew McFarlan.
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