Messing Up a Media Interview
I spent three days in central Alberta last week, working with municipal clients, one of them on their social media efforts and I did media training for the other.
It was the second media training workshop that I did that I was thinking about as I was driving back to Edmonton last Thursday. Most of the participants started the day wanting no part of the on-camera interviews they had to do that afternoon. One woman said she thought she was going to faint just before her interview started.
The day ended however with everyone being much more confident about doing media interviews and I was proud of the group and the work I did. Messing up a media interview is a real fear that many people have, much like public speaking.
The Fear of Failure
There’s been a debate for years if people really fear public speaking more than death, but let’s put it this way – I’m pretty sure if people were really given the choice between the two they would start looking for a microphone and start speaking. That's not to say people don't fear public speaking because they do. Just not as much as death I would say.
On a similar note, I’ve noticed how concerned people are about messing up in media interviews when I do media training workshops. The fear is real.
I remember last fall when I was working with a group of lawyers. One of the lawyers, who recently was named a judge in Alberta, told me how she was worried about saying the wrong thing in a media interview. I reminded her she’s a lawyer and likely has coached dozens of clients about what they should be saying in court and I asked her if speaking to a reporter isn’t much the same as testifying in court? She admitted it was similar, but then said she has experience in courtroom situations, but not speaking to the media.
It’s the fear of the unknown.
Let's Take a Look at the Video
Earlier this year, I did a video on this topic. It provides some tips on overcoming that fear.
I always say, you get better by doing. That means, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Speaking to reporters is much the same.
It’s like public speaking. Too often I’ve heard people comment about a specific speaker and with terms like “He’s such a natural speaker” or “She has so much confidence.” I would bet that “natural speaker” wasn’t so natural the first time or two he spoke and I’d also wager she didn’t have nearly as much confidence the first time she spoke in front of an audience.
Preparation and Confidence
People who are used to speaking to reporters understand it’s about preparation and confidence.
Those are the two key elements to my media training sessions. Giving people the knowledge of how the game works with reporters and letting them know the more prepared they are, the better they’ll do. The other part is getting people more comfortable with the feeling of answering questions from the media with a camera on them and a microphone in their face. Once they do it a couple of times they understand they can do it, leading to greater confidence. It’s the snowball effect.
Some people are still nervous when I start of a media training workshop. I often tell them though that nobody has ever cried or thrown up at one of my sessions.
At least not yet anyway.
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