Media interview tips: how to be quotable and memorable


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How to be quotable and memorable in TV, radio and press interviews

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Media interview tips: how to be quotable and memorable

  1. 1. Media interview tips Secrets How to be quotable and memorable November 2013 @HelenMcI
  2. 2. Agenda  “Them and us”: how media and interviewee agendas differ  Story narratives and tropes  How to be quotable and memorable  Tricky questions  Key takeaway 2
  3. 3. Different agendas Journalists Interviewees Generalists Sceptical Agenda (to get quotes to support a story angle) Concrete Story-led Competing with other media outlets Specialists Positive No agenda (often) Abstract Commercial-intent Competing with other companies 3
  4. 4. Story narratives Market leader So what? Who cares? Are you providing any new insights? Old way new way. Can we provide a new way to solve old problems? 4
  5. 5. Story narratives Market challenger How are we moving faster and delivering a better solution than the competition? The turnaround – where have we met with barriers to success in the past? Are we staging a comeback? David v Goliath. Are we an upstart or underdog making headway? 5
  6. 6. Be memorable What’s the one thing you want the audience to take away from your interview? 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
  7. 7. Delivery 1. 2. 3. • Make your strongest point first • Support it: facts, stats and examples • Bridge from a negative question to positive answer & create your own message delivery opportunities 7
  8. 8. Putting it in practice 1.Deliver your soundbite presenting your unique Point of View (uPOV) on an industry issue 2. Provide insight into the macroeconomic and consumer drivers to show relevance (“This is part of a growing trend; Consumers want; The economy is…”) 3. Outline the consumer experience and business benefits of taking action (e.g. “This is important because…” Use absolutes “must” “should” “need” “vital” “essential”) 4. Make predictions & back them up with evidence ( “We’ll have XXXX by XXX…” “Analysts are saying…” “Three of our major customers are…”)
  9. 9. How to be quotable Have a strong point of view. Be bold. Don’t get complicated. Express that view with conviction and enthusiasm, repeatedly. 9
  10. 10. How to be quotable Start with your conclusion. Make statements. Don’t build arguments. Assert an idea, backed up by an example to prove it. 10
  11. 11. How to be quotable No commas. All right, maybe a few are inevitable. But be aware of a tendency to speak in long, elaborate sentences, full of punctuation. Speak in comma-less declarative sentences as much as possible. 11
  12. 12. How to be quotable •Practice – but never memorize. Find your key ideas and most important examples – the core of what you want to say – and then practice aloud. 12
  13. 13. How to be quotable Trust yourself. The best quotes emerge unexpectedly. Organically. From a strong point of view, spoken with energetic conviction. 13
  14. 14. Tricky questions 1. BREATHE, SMILE & PAUSE 3. BRIDGE “A more significant question would be…” Watch your body language, it can communicate more than you think! “Let me give you some background information on X first…” 2. STALL Repeat the question to buy time, ask for clarification or “fill”: “That’s an interesting question. I’m glad you asked me that. It’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to…”
  15. 15. Tricky questions “That’s not an area of my expertise, but [my colleague, our customer, an analyst at XY] will be able to help.” It’s not your area of expertise You can’t give that information You don’t know I’ll have to get back to you on that Under stock market regulations we can’t disclose that level of detail,… what I can tell you is…” That’s something you’d need to ask our customers directly
  16. 16. What not to say Don’ts 16
  17. 17. Traps to avoid  Being forced to make a choice to answer between A or B: “We’ve found that you can’t have one without the other. For example…”  Being ‘bracketed’ into giving a figure: “Would you say it’s less than 50%. Is it more than, about 30% market share?”  Answering a hypothetical question: “We don’t speculate …” “Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball, but what I can tell is …”  The iron-cast guarantee: “What I can say is …” “As with any company we continue to staff our business in line with business demand and operational needs.”  The leading question: “That’s not for me to judge, but what I can tell you is …” 17
  18. 18. Handle the traps  The tougher the question, the shorter your answer should be  Don’t allow the interview to lead you off into other areas, you lead  Don’t say “no comment”. Say “that’s not information we disclose for competitive reasons”  Be comfortable with silence  Ignore the “go on, you can tell me …” approach. You are always on the record 18
  19. 19. Don’t repeat a negative “ Isn’t it true your company has high pollution emissions and that area residents have been complaining about the smell near your plant?” X “Yes, there have been high pollution emissions at our plant. In fact, residents of the area have been complaining about the smell. Some people have been exaggerating the extent of the odor. They tell us it smells like rotten eggs much of the time. The smell won’t make people sick, but it can be nauseating, especially in the summer. That’s why we’re working with officials to see how we can address the problem.” “Area residents are concerned and so are we and that’s why we’re working closely with outside experts and government officials to fix the problem. Here’s what we’re planning…” 19
  20. 20. Crisis communication Concern Action for the individuals you’re going to take Don’t speculate on causes or lay blame 20
  21. 21. Key take-aways Journalists tend to triple source stories. You may only get one quote in the article You have 8-12 words to make an impact Short, snappy and impactful….that’s what counts 21
  22. 22. Stay in touch Find more useful tips at: Connect with me at: @HelenMcI Thanks for your time… 22
  23. 23. Media interview tips Secrets How to be quotable and memorable November 2013 Helen McInnes