Handling the Media

by Jennifer Stenhouse

Common questions

  1. What should I wear on TV?
  2. Why bother with the media?
  3. What do I do with my hands in a TV interview?
  4. How do I deal with tricky questions?
  5. How much detail do I need to give?
  6. Is it better to sit or stand?
  7. Is ‘no comment’ acceptable?
  8. What if I think the interviewer is rude to me?
  9. How can I get rid of nerves?
  10. Can I use my notes?
  11. What if they try to trick me into saying something I don’t want to say?

 

1. What should I wear on TV?

It depends on the impression you want to make. If you want to look authoritative, go for darker, tailored clothes. Remember, if you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will show in your face.

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2. Why bother with the media?

Think of this in terms of marketing potential. Engaging with the media is one of the cheapest ways of getting your message across to the greatest number of people. With appropriate consideration and preparation, you can mostly avoid the negatives everyone tends to fear, such as the interview that backfires or misrepresentation.

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3. What do I do with my hands?

Gestures are fine, but tone them down a bit. Avoid pointing at people and windmill-like gestures. Keep your hands away from your face and keep them still when you are not talking.

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4. How do I deal with tricky questions?

It’s important to always answer the question, but move off the subject as soon as possible. The technique is called bridging.

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5. How much detail do I need to give?

Keep it short and keep it simple. You may be the expert, but you probably won’t be speaking to experts.

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6. Is it better to sit or stand?

Either is OK. The trick is to avoid fidgeting. If you’re sitting down, avoid swivel chairs.

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7. Is ‘no comment’ acceptable?

Never. Why would you pass up the opportunity to sell yourself, your company or your organisation?

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8. What if the interviewer is rude to me?

You will be calm and rise above it. To give like for like only does you a disservice and won’t help you get your message across.

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9. How can I get rid of nerves?

Prepare your content well, prepare mentally and practise how to breathe appropriately.

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10. Can I use my notes?

No. The tendency is to read from them, which does not help you communicate.

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11. What if they try to trick me into saying something I don’t want to say?

They won’t if you have prepared your message and stick to it. Stay alert and remember an interview isn’t a conversation.

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