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Media-Interview-Tips

Give Great Interviews with these 10 Haute Media Training Tips

Yesterday everyone's favorite truth-teller/love-charged business maven Danielle Laporte wrote an powerful article titled "How to conduct a great interview: punctuation + emotion." If you have ever had to interview anybody, you know how hard it can be to ask the right questions that maybe, just maybe, will blast open the mine to reveal the translucent sparkle of fascinating verbal gems. When I got to #5 in Danielle's article, mainly to never ask the question "sooo.....tell me about yourself and how you got to be where you are today," my entire body breathed a sigh of relief.  To whit:

If you watch people get asked this question, you can see them sigh heavily before they attempt to sift through the salient highlights of their entire life. What the interviewee wants to say is, “Are you kidding? I’m 40 years old, how’d I get here? Read my bio.” Instead, if they’re polite, they’ll regurge the key moments that earned them their authority. Either way, it’s painful.

Amen. Media training is an often overlooked aspect of fashion PR, but crucial for ensuring media coverage comes in on-brand and without embarrassment. We've all been there! Having conducted and given a fair amount of interviews in the past several years, I wanted to expand on how the interviewee can also take steps to ensure that the outcome of the interview is one both parties are proud of:

Media Training 101

1. First, clear your mind - 5-10 minutes before your interview take some time to be still. Turn off your phone, shut down your laptop and just sit. Think about the interview, who it's with, what you want to say and how you want to feel when you say it. Review your notes, tune into your inner Boss and get centered.

2. Treat every interview like it's "The Big One" -  no matter what your dream interview is (tea with Anna Wintour, couch time with Oprah), each interview is a dream opportunity. Someone is interested enough in what you do to want to talk about it with you and tell other people. That's a big deal. You don't have to accept every opportunity that comes your way (make sure the outlet is a fit for your brand and demographic), but once you have, give it all you've got.

3 . Break the ice - you may be nervous, but so might be the person interviewing you. After all, you're the big star! Begin things with a big enthusiastic smile/handshake/first paragraph.  Take a moment to praise a recent article they wrote, send a sincere compliment or ask their opinion on something. 

4. Off the record is not on the table - it can be tempting to relax into treating the interview like being out with the girls. Many journalists will get a bit chummy as a tactic to unearth the dirt you would normally only reveal on a third glass of wine. But this isn't chit chat. It's a professional interview, and I guarantee that what will end up staring back at you in full-on bold pull-quote will be the one thing  you never thought would make into the final piece. Personality? Yes. Passion? All you got. Perspective? Bring it.. Putting on your husband's deodorant by accident and telling your interviewer that is why you smell like a pine forest? Not this time.

5. Get comfortable with your key points - One of the things PR folks are great at is helping to synthesize multiple aspects of a person or brand into nice sound-bites. They cannot however, bring your personality to the party. If you have PR help great, have them craft some key messages and then think about how might comfortably say them. If you are flying solo - write down 3-5 bullet points that you want anyone who reads the article to know about you and your business. Each time the interviewer asks a question, look for opportunities to tie what you are saying into your key messages. For practice, read a Q&AA interview with a competitor or inspiration and imagine yourself answering the question.Have friends ask seemingly random questions and practice gracefully leading the conversation back to your brand.

6. Nobody likes a robot - Don't hold so fast to your key messages that you just end up sounding awkward.  if the interview goes in a different direction and you feel up for and excited by the new direction, give it a bit of attention. Sometimes the most interesting answers come from unexpected questions. Be willing to answer the call. And then, gently move things back into the realm what you came to do.

7. This is not a game show - your interviewer is not looking for one-word answers. Maybe it's a poorly phrased question. So what. Use it as an opportunity to elegantly communicate one of your key points.

8. Pause. To Think - Many of us ramble when nervous. We talk around and over the answer we want until we, in the process, figure out exactly how we feel or what we think about the question. Instead, just stop. pause. and think. It won't take your brain very long to go through the above steps, and the result will be way less umm, and uhhh, and well, and much more succinct. And powerful.

9. Say no (thank you) - If an journalist asks you a question and you are uncomfortable with answering (asking you to speculate for example), let them know you aren't comfortable and won't comment. Moving on.

10. Don't ask to review the story - remember that boss you had who was a total micro-manager and had to review everything? And would give you a ton of (usually bad) unsolicited feedback and basically made you feel like she had no faith in your capabilities? Yeah. Don't do that to the person with control over the publish button.

Finally, consider investing in a media training program through a PR agency, or even taking a free webinar on presentation skills. The better prepared we are for media opportunities, the harder those opportunities will work for us published.

Featured image courtesy of German Aleman Photography. Design courtesy of Yazmina Cabrera, Girl with a Banjo.

About the author: Crosby


Known as the "fashion publicist's most powerful accessory," (SD-UT) and the "West Coast 'It' girl of fashion PR," (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks is a brand strategist, author and founder of PR Couture. Crosby was included in the iMedia 25 Class of 2012 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, and enjoys helping fashion and lifestyle brands connect with their audiences in meaningful and creative ways.

7 Comments

  • Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    This was a really great post! Being interested in fashion PR, I visit this site quite often and always find the articles and posts helpful. These key points are very helpful for any type of interview or even workforce. Being able to calm yourself and speak to others in a conversational tone, it allows you to say more bout yourself without seeming vain. Also, the breaking the ice tip is honestly, what allows helps me. Everyone likes to have smile or laugh so don’t be so uptight when interviewing. Great post, as usual.

    Ashley D. McDaniel
    Writer/ Editor
    Platform Magazine
    platformmagazine.org

  • Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    This was a really great post! Being interested in fashion PR, I visit this site quite often and always find the articles and posts helpful. These key points are very helpful for any type of interview or even workforce. Being able to calm yourself and speak to others in a conversational tone, it allows you to say more bout yourself without seeming vain. Also, the breaking the ice tip is honestly, what allows helps me. Everyone likes to have smile or laugh so don’t be so uptight when interviewing. Great post, as usual.

    Ashley D. McDaniel
    Writer/ Editor
    Platform Magazine
    platformmagazine.org

  • Emily
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    These are some great tips. As a PR student, this is one of the sites I visit to on occasion for all the great internship Getting IN posts. They really are great insight into what I need to know now! This especially is another great one that I am taking a few news tips away with.

  • Erin Sickinger
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    This was a very informative post. As a student interested in PR, I visited this website and found the articles and posts helpful. I especially love the layout and design of this website. It’s easy to find internship opportunities and gives a look inside the world of fashion PR. These key points will help me in the future when looking for an internship and job. Thanks for the great post!

  • Erin Sickinger
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    This was a very informative post. As a student interested in PR, I visited this website and found the articles and posts helpful. I especially love the layout and design of this website. It’s easy to find internship opportunities and gives a look inside the world of fashion PR. These key points will help me in the future when looking for an internship and job. Thanks for the great post!

  • Jacob
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Talking of “embaressment”… that’s not how you spell it.

  • Jacob
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Talking of “embaressment”… that’s not how you spell it.

5 Trackbacks

  • [...] 3. Do you know the basics of how to train someone to be good in front of the camera or in an interview with a journalist? Either talking to the cameras after your client’s fashion show or being interviewed by a journalist during a press day are things that will eventually happen to you as a Fashion PR. Yes, show time will arrive and you have to be prepared for that! Read Crosby Noricks’ advice about this subject. [...]

  • [...] 3. Do you know the basics of how to train someone to be good in front of the camera or in an interview with a journalist? Either talking to the cameras after your client’s fashion show or being interviewed by a journalist during a press day are things that will eventually happen to you as a Fashion PR. Yes, show time will arrive and you have to be prepared for that! Read Crosby Noricks’ advice about this subject. [...]

  • [...] 3. Do you know the basics of how to train someone to be good in front of the camera or in an interview with a journalist? Either talking to the cameras after your client’s fashion show or being interviewed by a journalist during a press day are things that will eventually happen to you as a Fashion PR. Yes, show time will arrive and you have to be prepared for that!Read Crosby Noricks’ advice about this subject. [...]

  • [...] 3. Do you know the basics of how to train someone to be good in front of the camera or in an interview with a journalist? Either talking to the cameras after your client’s fashion show or being interviewed by a journalist during a press day are things that will eventually happen to you as a Fashion PR. Yes, show time will arrive and you have to be prepared for that!Read Crosby Noricks’ advice about this subject. [...]

  • [...] 3. Do you know the basics of how to train someone to be good in front of the camera or in an interview with a journalist? Either talking to the cameras after your client’s fashion show or being interviewed by a journalist during a press day are things that will eventually happen to you as a Fashion PR. Yes, show time will arrive and you have to be prepared for that! Read Crosby Noricks’ advice about this subject. [...]

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Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping rad companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me an electronic communiqué.