So to help you become better prepared about possible interviews and getting more comfortable with voicing your opinion – I went straight to the source. Three women who know what it’s like to speak with the press and be quoted in public, have given you their thoughts on how to prepare. Thanks to each of Michele Barry, Rebecca Leo and Sharon Sebastian for generously donating their perspectives!
Michele Barry is a leader in the pubic health sector, is currently National President of Better Hearing Australia and Director of Frontis Consulting. She regularly represents the organisations she works for.
1. Know your key messages and be ready for action. Media opportunities can be valuable and at times unexpected. Write media releases, followed by phone calls - get to know the journalists and producers in your topic area.
2. Be easy to deal with - when a journo calls you; call back quickly, respect the time lines of those in the media. If you are easy to deal with you will be called back for your area of expertise. If you are difficult to deal with journos will simply call someone else.
3. Media interviews take practice so ask a trusted friend or colleague for feedback. I was told I smiled too much, which might be good sometimes, but in that instance it was a serious topic.
4. Call or write back to the journalist and say thank you. Tell them about the impact. You are more likely to be asked for an interview again.
5. Have a heading called media contacts on your website/ Facebook. Make it easy for people to help you and connect withyou.
- Michelle’s recommended resources: Invest in media training. Watch recordings of your self and work on your personal style. Sign up to "the Source" a PR reaching site and go for it.
- Michele can be contacted via LinkedIn
Rebecca Leo is the Founder of Roar Women and the award winning Roar Events Australia. She is a speaker, coach and presenter who found herself winning a spot as a guest co-host on The Project!
Rebecca’s #1 tip was given to her by journalist (and host on the night) Hugh Riminton, when she was on The Project: Just be yourself! Be in the conversation as you would be with your best friends. Your presence on camera is much more appealing when you are being naturally you.
Sharon Sebastian is a former journalist and currently works as a senior communications professional in Queensland.
Sharon’s #1 advice?
Be prepared and do your research on the journalist, the publication and their target audience
- Find out who the journalist is and which publication they are from. Try and find a couple of articles written by your interviewer to get a feel for what their writing style is like.
- Ask what the article is about and get the deadline.
- Get your questions ahead of time – a good journalist will normally send you through a set of questions so you can prepare. If they don't, not to worry, just ask.
- Key messages – if you are representing your organisation, think about what key messages you would want to get across. Don't try to be a salesperson! (Journalists do not like this.) Think about how you can creatively incorporate key messages about your organisation, while answering the questions put forward by the journalist, in line with what the article is about.
- Yes, learning how to speak out articulately and confidently is an excellent executive branding tool. Invest in training, support and practice so you can leverage it.
- Work out what you stand for - key messages, succinct, articulate, powerful and effective
- Be yourself - everyone else is taken!
- Do your research into the publication and audience
- Make it easy for people to find you.
Let me know how you go! If you end up being featured by your industry rag or profiled in your peak body magazine, send me a copy! I'd love to share.
Vive la révolution!
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