By now, many of us have grown accustomed to virtual meetings, media interviews and presentations. While virtual communications have many benefits, in-person media interviews and meetings provide great opportunities for leaders and subject matter experts (SMEs) to tell their company’s stories and connect with the media in a more personalized, persuasive and engaged manner.
But before you step back into the spotlight or studio, set yourself up for successful in-person media interviews by preparing to check these virtual habits at the door:
Talking as if you’re off the record
- Remember that small talk and anything you mention casually before or after a media interview, can be included in the published article.
- Use silence to your advantage. When the reporter asks you questions, it is perfectly ok to take a moment to consider your response before answering. Once you’ve delivered your answer, stop talking. Trying to fill the silence can make you go off-message or reveal information that is not appropriate to share externally.
- Keep your comments positive. As the company spokesperson, talking negatively about anything or anyone (e.g., your competitors) sheds a bad light on the brand or organization you’re representing.
- Never mention a customer unless you have their permission and avoid announcing new products or ideas that have not been formally introduced.
Answering while distracted
- Put your phone away to stay engaged in your discussion. In our experience, phones and Apple watches seem programmed to go off during important moments and conversations. When meeting with a reporter or editor, give them your full attention and silence all texts alerts, voicemails and breaking news feeds.
- Don’t forget that you are always “on.” Facial expression, posture, body language and eye contact all contribute to how you’re perceived and whether the media will be an ally going forward.
Forgetting the “business” part of business casual
- Dress professionally, and not just from the waist up! Many brands and organizations today have adopted business casual dress codes, but when it comes to speaking on behalf of your company, remember that you are the embodiment of that brand. Show up with appropriate attire and make sure you’re comfortable so you won’t be fidgeting during your interview.
Given today’s combination of virtual, hybrid and in-person communications landscape, even the most seasoned leaders and SMEs will benefit from brushing up on best practices in executive communications coaching. Whether it’s for a presentation, media interview, meeting or podcast, communications coaching provides them with a competitive edge in breaking through the noise and engaging with key audiences and stakeholders. Our PadillaPrep coaches are multichannel, multi-industry strategists who integrate their knowledge of the competitive landscape and your organization’s strategic objectives to help you communicate with confidence and clarity as your brand’s leader.
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