Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to look good in front of the media

Media training has historically been the reserve for large corporates who can afford to send their managers on luxury weekends to be coached by ex BBC journalists. But what about the huge amount of SME's and startups that frequently have the option of some free publicity via TV, press or radio?

Well the good news is you don't need to digest volumes of books on 'answering difficult questions' or 'how to look good in front of the camera', we can all learn to be media friendly using some basic rules.

Rule 1. Bodylanguage

Any movement in front of the camera is grossly exaggerated due to the size of the frame. So stand a little wider than normal and maintain eye contact with the interviewer at all times. Never look at the camera, assume you are having a conversation with no cameras present. Take off your sunglasses, and check you dress and hair before your start, you can't be taken seriously if you have a tuft of hair sticking up or food on your teeth.

Rule 2. Help the editor

Start and end each session with a 2-3 second pause, this will allow the editor to splice the material easily.

Rule 3. Create soundbytes

Single word answers are useless, create soundbytes using facts, figures or examples that add colour to your answer. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification, and if you don't now the answer say so, followed by either 'but I do know...' or an offer to get that information within a pre-determined timeframe.

Rule 4. Understand the order of questions

Interviewers tend to follow themes of what, why, how, where, when and who, anticipate the questions they are likely to ask.

Rule 5. Get your nuggets ready

In advance of the interview, get 3 golden nuggets of information that you want to include in the interview. Answer each question and build a bridge to enable you to add your golden nugget with words like and, meanwhile, also and however. Be startling, ask yourself 'so what?' why would the audience find your answer interesting.


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