Live media interviews can be tough. I’ve trained many colleagues who are experts in their field to successfully handle media interviews. I always say to anyone that I ask, that I wouldn’t be suggesting the idea if I didn’t think they were competent to be a great spokesperson.
So from my experiences here’s how to nail that live media interview:
Relish the benefits of the medium
The one key benefit of live radio is that no-one can edit you and take what you say out of context. (Provided you say it clearly enough!) I think this is a positive aspect. It’s also worth being clear that it is live so you don’t inadvertently ask to start your messed up answer again.
Hone your key messages
On the flip side, live radio interviews are often short. You need to be able to get your key points across quickly and succinctly. There are those live radio news programmes we all know of that don’t tolerate those who drone on – and will cut you off! This can be embarrassing and isn’t good PR for any brand. It can also dent your confidence.
Will there be other guests?
Find out if anyone else is part of the interview scenario. The station might want to pit you against a competitor or adversary. You need to know if that is the case to help your preparations – or determine if the set-up is appropriate. If there are others involved, make sure you know:
- Who they are – and write their name, title and organisation down (in the heat of the moment we can easily forget details like this)
- If they’re on before you, make sure you hear what they have to say. You might be able to add valuable additional or contextual information
- Think about what their arguments against you might be and prepare accordingly
- You might also determine that the debate that is being set-up isn’t one you would like to be involved in publicly. It can be reasonable to politely decline the interview offer.
It’s important to remember that any media interview does not equate to a good media interview. You can read my ideas on what to ask when you’re offered media interviews here – with tips on media relations part 1 here and part 2 here.