I cringe every time I watch a reporter reduce an otherwise smart and dynamic leader to a terror-stricken mess.
Being interviewed isn’t as easy as it looks. The politicians, pundits and others you see interviewed on cable TV, however, all have one thing going for them: confidence.
I’m not necessarily referring to bravado, although a little swagger helps. No, I’m referring to the confidence that comes from understanding how reporters work and learning how to convey your point of view when speaking with them.
Practice, practice, practice
Few are born with the skills to succeed in media interviews. The players at Wimbledon spend years perfecting their craft. So do the musicians at Carnegie Hall. It’s no different in the competition for the public’s attention.
At the heart of practice is preparation. Coaches often say they prepare their players for the big game the same way they do for regular-season contests. Coaches want the preparation process to become so ingrained that it becomes like muscle memory for the brain, eliminating stress and distractions. The same concept applies to preparing for media interviews, otherwise known as media training. Using a proven method of preparation, time after time, can condition individuals to succeed in media interviews.
Media training is a must
How can I be so sure? I was one of those terror-stricken messes. As a journalist, I was an introvert. Like many in the Fourth Estate, I was good at asking the questions but not so good at answering them.
Then I learned the skills necessary to succeed in media interviews and developed an appreciation for the need to practice them regularly.
My palms still get a little sweaty when I’m interviewed. But I channel that nervous energy to my advantage, bringing clarity and conviction to my comments and their delivery. Furthermore, I enjoy helping others to harness the anxiety in all of us to instill the confidence necessary to succeed in media interviews.