Media interviews are difficult. The greatest spokespeople appear natural, relaxed, authoritative, likeable, engaged, controlled and spontaneous. They make their case convincingly and memorably – whether promoting everyday news messages, or managing a full-on crisis.

For a few, it comes naturally. For most, it comes with good media training.

Interviews are not what they seem: they follow unwritten rules and counterintuitive dynamics. Valid instincts lead the uninitiated into hidden tricks and traps.  Good media training provides the strategies, techniques and practical skills needed to seize the opportunities and avoid the risks.

This one day course will help participants become talented spokespeople for their organisations. Participants will become confident with proactively and positively engaging with the media.

You will gain insight into journalists, news values and interview dynamics that will help you to anticipate questions and take control of interviews. You will familiarise with cameras and microphones by practicing in our realistic broadcast-standard mobile studio.

You will gain self-awareness and improve your voice projection and body language. The course covers interviews with all forms of media: TV, radio, print and online. Other topics include structured interview preparation, proactive messaging, and universal techniques for handling difficult questions.

This is a universal course designed for a wide range of learners. Training is pitched at a level to help you analyse core concepts and execute universal skills.

This course is recommended for anyone who may be involved in media interviews or briefing the media on behalf of  a spokesperson. Participants may be working either behind the scenes in a PR advisory role or as a spokesperson.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Plan and prepare for interviews in advance
  • Respond confidently to journalists’ questions
  • Communicate key messages in an interview
  • Conduct any media interview in a number of different formats and styles

This course covers the following modules:

  • Preparing effectively and performing confidently
  • On-camera simulation and feedback coaching
  • Controlling the interview dynamic (with simulation exercise)
  • Answering difficult questions (with simulation exercise)

Preparing effectively and performing confidently

This module covers the core concepts of media training theory, including practical examples in video clips.

  • The strategic importance of media interviews for reputation management
  • Developing and using messages in interviews
  • Using soft and hard proof points to make messages credible and memorable
  • Understanding news values and how these will affect the interview
  • Body language and physical appearance
  • Working with cameras and microphones
  • Structured preparation using a step-by-step model

On-camera simulation and feedback coaching

In this module, you will prepare systematically for an imaginary scenario and then take part in a simulated media interview, followed by individual feedback.

  • Evaluating the journalist, media and news environment
  • Preparing messages and proof points
  • Anticipating and preparing answers for likely questions
  • Simulated interview on camera with a training journalist
  • Video replay with individual performance coaching

This interview scenario will be friendly and straightforward. The purpose is familiarisation, self-awareness and confidence building.

Managing interview dynamics (with simulation exercise)

In this module, you will learn to understand the underlying dynamics of media interviews, in order to take control of the agenda. This is followed by another simulation exercise.

  • Interviewer tactics to watch out for
  • Power dynamics
  • Managing aggressive or pushy questioning
  • Guiding the agenda: proactive messaging
  • Simulated interview on camera with a training journalist
  • Video replay with individual performance coaching

This interview will focus on a positive news announcement. The purpose is to practice proactive messaging, while implementing performance feedback.

Answering difficult questions (with simulation exercise)

In this module, you will learn techniques for answering difficult questions, including universally effective approaches. This is followed by another simulation exercise.

  • Seven categories of question that do not need to be answered
  • The classic “blocking and bridging” approach and its shortcomings
  • The flexible “dig for gold” strategy
  • The universal “zoom in, zoom out” technique

The final interview will include some challenging questions, as appropriate to each learner’s level. The learning atmosphere remains positive and confidence building.

Personal performance

  • Conduct confident and effective interviews
  • Project credibility and authority
  • Build confidence and self-awareness
  • Perform calmly under pressure
  • Practice in a safe environment with personal coaching
  • Learn from your own mistakes and others’
  • Come to enjoy interviews as a stimulating challenge
  • Familiarise with broadcast and studio technology
  • Improve body language and appearance for TV
  • Improve everyday communication and presentation

Strategic media engagement

  • Communicate powerful and memorable messages
  • Take control of your image in the media
  • Angle your good news for maximum impact
  • Crisis response: limit the damage of bad news
  • Understand and control interview dynamics
  • Hear directly from journalists about their motivations and news values
  • Don’t follow the journalist: set your own agenda and drive the news
  • Handle difficult questions and turn them to your advantage
  • Recognise and avoid common mistakes, tricks and pitfalls
  • Prepare for all kinds of media encounter for TV, radio and print

Partnership

Working in partnership with the International School of Communication