Maximising Your Media Moment
In an era of short media bites, how do you get your message across about a complex, detailed issue through TV in ten seconds?
Well, you need to work out your key message and deliver it flawlessly as a media friendly quotable quote.
Professional news crews will tell you about people who ring them after the interview and say “can you come back, I forgot to say this and that?” Of course, the media are so time poor and deadline driven they never come back.
So you only have one opportunity to maximise your media moment.
How do you do this, especially for TV? Here are the Top 10 Tips:
1. Dress Well.
In the powerful visual medium of television you will be judged by your appearance. Clothing patterns and colours will contribute to the impact of your on camera interview. Avoid clothes with lots of designs or patterns. A dark jacket (blue, black, charcoal or navy) with a white shirt/blouse always looks good on camera. Take your cue from what TV news readers are wearing.
2. Warm Up Your Voice.
Tiger Woods wouldn’t go and play a championship round of golf without warming up. You, as a professional communicator and official spokesperson should never engage with the media without warming up your voice.
3. Speak With Increased Energy
Speak at a higher volume, range, tone and pitch than you would normally. Imagine having a conversation with someone and speaking at a slightly more animated level than you would normally.
4. Anchor Your Feet and Slow Deliberate Movements.
The more you move around the more your body language will distract from your message. Doing interviews standing, even radio interviews, will change your whole physiology and give your more energy and authority. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and firmly anchored to the ground. It is hard to sound credible standing on one foot.
TIP: Watch your interviews with the sound off to get a better idea of what your body language is doing in the interview.
5. Keep Calm.
Reporters are probably not your friends. Assertive, aggressive, even angry reporters will fire off questions at you quickly, like bullets spitting from a machine gun. Their speech patterns will be intense and fast. Do not get drawn into mirroring and matching these patterns. In these situations, take a breath and speak more slowly than the interviewer.
6. Memorise Your Three Key Points.
You must be able to deliver these flawlessly without reading notes. Firstly, write them down. Writing things down helps fix them in the mind and seeing them written down also helps. Then compose a visual picture of the actual words. Visually place them in the top left part of your brain. When remembering these points, look to the top left hand part of the brain and they will come to you instantly like magic.
In technical terms, brain experts have shown the left-side of the prefrontal cortex (just behind the forehead) experiences increased blood flow as new information enters our episodic memory. In fact, the brain’s thesaurus is dispersed in many separate parts of the left cerebral hemisphere
7. Never Say No Comment.
Journalists will believe ‘where there is smoke there is fire’. Say no comment, but back this up with a valid reason.
8. Drink Plenty Of Water.
Keep hydrated and avoid caffeine and milk prior to an interview. Milk gums up your saliva glands leading to a dry mouth. This manifests itself in the common nervous habit of licking dry lips.
9. Get In The Moment.
Elite athletes talk about and practice getting in the zone to achieve peak performance. You need to do the same.
Try this: Relax, close your eyes and take three deep breaths, focussing on clearing your mind. Then visualise a moment in the past where you felt very motivated and very confident. Capture this moment in your mind and anchor those feelings. Place this mental picture inside your right hand and clench making a fist. Cover this fist with your left hand. Repeat this process until you can instantly put yourself into a state of peak performance.
10. Review, Evaluate and Improve.
After each media interviews always review:
What worked well?
What could be improved?
What will I work on for next time?