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Giving a media interview, whether in person, on the phone or on camera can be a powerful way to boost your company’s reach and reputation – and it need not be scary.

In a virtual world which is drowning in meaningless copy there is an increasing demand for genuine expert opinion and for analytical video content.

As a result, the number of requests for interviews is on the rise and executives are increasingly expected to be able to handle media interaction if they are to climb the corporate ladder.

This demand is not only from the media, either. Many businesses are looking to their own staff to be a ‘talking head’ on the company website, often employing external suppliers to film and interview them.

For many people, appearing in front of the camera for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience. It’s a skill which requires practice and preparation.

But media training is a cost-effective answer to ensure staff are ready to grasp media opportunities for the benefit of their own career and of their employer.

Here are some top tips when talking to the media:

Before you speak to the journalist

  • Think carefully about what you want to achieve from an interview and whether it’s right for the business to do it.
  • Make sure you have enough time to prepare. Plan three key messages and try to think like a journalist. What will they want to know?

Things to avoid

  • Don’t talk off-the-cuff or about subjects you don’t understand.
  • Don’t get tricked into thinking anything you say is off the record.
  • Don’t talk over the audience’s head.
  • Don’t say ‘no comment’ – it comes across as defensive.

During interview

  • Be positive. It’s a great opportunity to put your message across.
  • Don’t be nervous – most journalists are friendlier than you think! But do be alert.
  • Ask what the first question will be – it helps to relax you.
  • Most important of all, be interesting! A boring interview won’t reap coverage.