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Communication skills training makes a world of difference when it comes to ensuring interviews ultimately result in compelling media coverage for your company. Even your most intelligent, well-spoken executives might need a refresher on interview best practices, have limited experience with the media or simply not feel comfortable in an interview setting. No matter their experience level, communication skills training can help identify your thought leaders’ communication strengths and areas for improvement.
Whether you’re preparing for a face-to-face interview, phone call or email exchange, communication skills training provides the necessary tools for you to come across in a clear, concise manner. Keep the following best practices, among others, in mind each time you prepare for and complete an interview.
Mention your brand. During a media interview, identify several opportunities to mention your brand. While you don’t want to turn an interview entirely into a sales pitch, if you mention your brand several times – in a way that feels natural, rather than forced – you’ll increase the chances of your brand being included in the story. Communication skills training can help you strike the right balance between being informative and newsworthy, and tying the interview back to your brand.
Reporters often use direct quotes or sound bites in their stories, so repeat or reword the question to fully articulate your message. For example, if a reporter asks why you decided to expand your product offering, start your response with, “We decided to expand our product offering because…” If might sound simple, but this tip can ultimately help shape your strongest quotes.
While you can control the direction and key messages of an interview to a degree, reporters also have their own agendas – which might include a handful of difficult questions. Communication skills training often includes mock interviews, which can help you prepare for any difficult questions that might come your way. If you’d rather not respond to the question, let the reporter know you’re not comfortable sharing that information and bridge back to a key message.
In addition to preparing for difficult questions, when speaking with a reporter or other member of the media, it’s important to assume you’re always on the record. In this case, be careful with how you word your responses and be cautious of sharing any sensitive information. If a question makes you uncomfortable, you always have the option of saying “no comment.
Reporters set up interviews with you for a reason – you’re the expert in a relevant topic area. Throughout the interview, remain confident and don’t be thrown off if reporters start asking off-base questions. As the expert, it’s up to you to control the conversation and key messages you’d like to get across. This can be particularly important with phone, radio and TV interviews, as your confidence level will have an impact on your voice and tone.
Walker Sands is a trusted communication skills training consultant to a portfolio of B2B technology clients and we’ve built out a comprehensive media training service.
To learn more about how our integrated approach to PR and digital marketing improves firms like yours, contact us today and let’s start the conversation.