Every single one gives you an opportunity to show yourself and your organisation in the most positive light, and deliver the key messages you have carefully prepared.
How can you achieve this?
Well, it’s all about taking control of an interview and making sure it follows your agenda, not that of the journalist.
There are several different ways you might do this.
One is by giving such compelling answers that the journalist is bound to ask you follow up questions based on them.
A second is by “bridging” – acknowledging the question, then using a “bridging” phrase to take you to the answer you want to make.
And a third is by “planting and seeding”.
What this means is that you are planting or seeding the idea for a particular question in the journalists mind – priming them to ask it.
This can be done both before and during an interview.
Before the interview
Before the formal interview starts, whether print, TV or radio, take any opportunity to have a chat with the journalist and give them an idea of what your most interesting points are going to be.
If you can spark their interest or capture their imagination, they are bound to then ask you about it, and this will help you take control of an interview.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be done by you – if your PR representative is setting up the interview, make sure they plant the seeds with the reporter before you speak.
During the interview
Seeding questions during an interview is a more subtle technique.
This involves leaving a tempting morsel of information out of an answer, so the reporter is bound to them ask a follow up to find out more.
“Yes, we are having to make major cost savings at the moment, but we are using a whole range of creative initiatives to maximise our income.”
Of course, there is a risk they won’t ask what those initiatives are and you’ve missed out on an opportunity, but, nine times out of ten, they will – and you’ll be well away, expanding on your ideas, giving lots of lovely examples, taking control and delivering your key messages.
And that, after all, is the main point of agreeing to any interview.
We practise all these techniques for taking control of an interview during our media training courses. Each course is led by journalist trainers with many years experience of conducting interviews in all circumstances – both positive and negative. If you would like to find out more, please do contact us by email or call on 020 8332 6200.