As a PR firm, we’ve observed many media interviews with clients over the phone, in person and on camera. Which were the best interviews, and why? Hands down, the ones that were unscripted, and therefore, authentic. Let’s talk about what it means to be unscripted from a PR perspective.
According to the urban dictionary, the definition of unscripted is, “a thing that doesn’t go exactly as planned, but ends up a lot better than expected.” In the world of media interviews, especially when under fire, politicians and company heads are often criticized for being too scripted. Why? Because they sound disingenuous or fake. People want to trust that what they are hearing is authentic.
But doesn’t being unscripted mean being unprepared? Absolutely not! In fact, we help clients prepare for interviews long before they’re even scheduled by developing the organization’s key messages. Putting plenty of strategic thought into how to you communicate about your nonprofit or business goes a long way towards speaking somewhat off the cuff about it. To learn the art of sounding authentic while being prepared, we’ve put together our top tips for getting ready for a media interview.
Do Your Research
Review your organization’s website to refresh your memory about what’s presented there. Read your recent press releases and blog posts. Look at the last few social media posts on each of your platforms. Once you’re comfortable with your that messaging, be sure to research a few industry trends to expand your expertise and knowledge set. Finally, don’t forget to research the reporter to see what they’ve written. It will give you a sense of the direction their questions might take.
Nail Your Message
Once you’ve done your research, write down three to five key points you want to be sure to get across during the interview. This will allow you to recite them without sounding scripted. Then, sit down with a coworker or your PR consultant and have them grill you, as the reporter might do, so you’re comfortable with the material.
Keep It Short and Sweet
During the interview, embrace the silence! Many reporters use this technique to get their interviewee to keep talking, and possibly slip up. Don’t be afraid to simply answer the question, stop talking and wait for the next question.
Just Be Yourself
Perhaps most importantly, smile and let your personality shine through! Being yourself is definitely the best way to come off as trustworthy and genuine.
We love hearing from readers! What’s worked for you during an interview or speaking engagement to keep it real?