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Media Training Tips & Tricks: Avoid media pitfalls and communicate your key messages

Camera fright. Blank mind. Whether you’re an experienced interviewee, or a novice, it can be intimidating when a camera turns on and you’re expected to answer a reporter’s questions. 

Media training can help. 

Media training can help ease those nerves and boost your confidence when facing the camera. Or even if you’re not nervous, it always helps to refine your key messages. By learning valuable techniques and strategies, you’ll be better equipped to handle interviews with ease. From practicing your responses to understanding your body language, media training can provide you with the tools you need to shine in front of the camera.  

Here are some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to media training. 

Do practice. Don’t just wing it. It’s all about preparation and practice. Anticipate potential interview questions and practice your responses out loud. The more you prepare, the easier the words will roll off your tongue. 

Do speak succinctly. Don’t use jargon. On-camera interviews are typically very short. Get to the point of what you want to say and what you want an audience to hear. Avoid industry terms that can be confusing. If you blabber on and on the important bits of your message might not end up in the final footage.  

Do be willing to say, ‘I don’t know.” Don’t lie, speculate or exaggerate. Stick to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you don’t know the answer to something, say that. It’s perfectly okay to admit when you’re unsure about a topic or question. By being truthful, you maintain your credibility and trustworthiness. 

Do use positive body language. Don’t slouch, chew gum or look annoyed. Smile (when appropriate). Don’t be creepy! Sit up straight in your chair and lean forward. Make eye contact with the reporter. Think about how you look if you’re muted. Non-verbal body language plays a huge role in an interview and how you come across. 

And never say “No comment” try to retract something you said or think something is “off the record”. Saying “no comment” comes across like you’re trying to hide something. Instead, try “I’m not the right person to speak about X” or “It’s against our company’s policy to discuss X.” 

Once you say something, it’s out there. Never try to retract a comment. Think before you speak or if necessary, ask for the opportunity to clarify a statement. 

Nothing is ever “off the record”. Ever. Even if you ask and a journalist says, yes. Not that every person in the media is a gotcha journalist, but still, they have a job to do as well. And if you’re “off the record” comment is good, chances are you’ll see it in print. 

When a media interview presents itself embrace the opportunity to share your knowledge and insights. Remember that every interview is a chance to connect with your audience. By keeping these media training tips in mind, you’ll be better equipped to get your key messages across.