Problems with the media? Preparation is key.

Being prepared for an interview with the media not only prevents heart palpitations but it will ensure a much better outcome, not only for you but for the reporter. Take my word for it – I’ve seen great interviews and lousy ones. And I’ve been on both sides of the table.

We’re not going to try and provide media training in 500 words or less, but here are three things to remember. And three is not a random number … always look to make points in groups of three [click to tweet]. People might actually remember them that way – who remembers 10 benefits of your product, for example?

1. Prepare your key messages.

Make sure that you and/or your PR agency have clearly itemized the key points that you wish to make. These should relate to the subject that the reporter is interested in! Bridging from one subject to the other is harder to do well than it might seem, especially with an experienced writer.

2. Listen and watch the reporter.

Body language tells a lot. If he/she aren’t asking questions or writing down much, there’s a good chance that you are boring them. Keep your answers brief and to the point. Then stop talking. It gives the writer a chance to catch up with their notes. And both of you an opportunity to think about the next question.

3. Ask questions.

Reporters have a mine of useful information at their fingertips. Not only can you glean useful information by asking writers their views, but they tend to feel appreciated if you genuinely are interested in their views.

These are three simple ideas for getting on the right track. Interviews are a lot subtler than this, but you won’t go too far wrong if you start with these basic concepts.

Some of the greatest interviews last less than 10 minutes; some of the worst last an hour [click to tweet]. Success is not measured in minutes; it’s calibrated in terms of impact. And reputation is about making a good impression. If you’re not prepared, the chance is that you’ll fail on both fronts and that’s not good business.

Image courtesy of Ambro at

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