You don’t need to be PR expert to speak to the press... These are the most important things to remember to if you want to have a successful conversation with a journalist.
Make sure you are familiar with what the journalist is looking to get from the interview, or the audience of the event. If you can, try to understand questions in advance. Also, be clear about the topics you don’t want to talk about so that you can be prepared to avoid them if you see them approaching.
2. Key messages
Even if you are unable to get questions in advance, you should be clear about your key messages. There is no point doing the interview if you don’t say what you intended, so use every question as an opportunity to communicate your key messages.
3. Be confident, but not cocky
Have confidence – remember you are the expert in your field and you know more than the journalist, and that this is an opportunity to promote yourself and your organisation, increasing your influence and your sales. However, be waring of appearing arrogant and don’t criticise competitors.
Stay in control of yourself – don’t get cross or rise to provocation. And, where possible, stay in control of the interview by giving interesting answers and leading the conversation.
5. Don’t fill silences
Say what you want to say and stop talking. People feel the need to talk to fill a silence and it’s often in doing this that they say things they would rather not. Journalists use this technique, so be aware of it and stop talking. Don’t be scared to say you don’t know if you don’t know an answer.
6. Be yourself
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. The most successful and memorable interviewees are those that are genuine, authentic, use natural, language and don’t like they are reading a script.
Practise really helps, so practise with your team or PR support and throw yourself into speaking with journalists and taking part in events. The more you do, the better you will be.