Interviews are an opportunity to communicate your business’s key messages and simultaneously up your personal brand. You’re in charge. Showcase your strengths, and distract from your non –existent weaknesses.
With apt preparation from the right team, your interview can very well place you in the best light, increasing your brand awareness and customer loyalty! One wrong word, however, and the media is on it. Gerald Ratner, CEO of the once extremely successful Ratners’ Jewellery Group, is now infamous for explaining the cheap prices by referring to his products as “total crap”. An attempt at jest, may as well have jousted Ratner’s image.
Know thy journalist:
Sun Tzu famously said that warriors should know their enemies. Although the journalists are not your enemies, you should know them to be able to work with them. Work with your journalist. Read their latest work, and make sure that they know you have done so; people love hearing about themselves. Doing research on the reporter’s beat, past interview questions, and their readership can help ensure you strategically avoid potential landmines. Frame your answers in ways that would interest them, but speak to your company’s credibility.
: Create a list of approved topics, and stick to it. The media are always looking for the next best thing, so it’s important to only choose subjects that can generate positive buzz about you. Being in the spotlight also means being in the hot-seat, especially when your a smaller business speaking with larger publications. Anything you say can, and probably will, be misconstrued. Make sure your answers cover all aspects of the question, and leave absolutely no room for speculation.
No off-the-record remarks:
The media will attempt to coax you for more information with “off-the-record” questions; these are designed to give their outlet an extra edge at the cost of your credibility. Stand your ground. Refrain from discussing your competition, numbers, and anything only “insiders” should be aware of. Discuss with your Public Relations Team topics that are absolutely off-limits, and together map out a way to change the topic. Again, you’re in control.
Be aware of your body language:
Engage with your audience. Maintain steady — but not too intense — eye contact with your interviewer; this may be a person or a camera. If you are seated, then sit upright, leaning slightly forward with your hands on your knees. If you choose to stand: stand tall! Keep one foot slightly in front of the other. Don’t be afraid to use your hands, crossing your arms communicate defensiveness. Gestures can further convey your stance, as well as engagement with the interviewer.
Take your time. While interviews are scheduled, you do not have a time limit when answering questions. Breathe. It is better to pause and provide a clear statement that conveys your key message, than to reflexively respond with something that says less about your brand.
Location, location, location:
Set your interview somewhere you’re comfortable! Home Court advantage lends a sense of comfort to the spokesperson, and an opportunity for the media to see the grandeur of your Headquarters. Holding an interview at one of your partners’ locations can also communicate your interconnectedness — relevance — in the business.
Interviews are merely not a question and answer situation. As a PR Firm, we are experienced navigators of the mass-media’s terrain. Midas’ Public Relations Team is there with you from start-to-finish: we provide a media list, anticipate potential questions (especially the tough ones), coach speakers, and conduct mock-interviews.
Visit our website www.midas-pr.com today for more information or get in touch with us by email.