In September 1960, Richard Nixon arguably lost the presidential election against John F. Kennedy in large part because of his performance during the first televised debate in U.S. history. Nixon, the front runner up to that point, looked sick, exhausted, and sweated profusely. Less than two months later, Kennedy won the election.
Public speaking and maintaining successful media relations are hard for many professionals. Yet, it is a necessary skill for business executives, especially in today’s diverse media landscape. Whether print, radio, television, or any other form of multimedia, commanding a superior media presence is essential.
Benefits of Mastering Media Presence
Giving a successful interview is much more than providing information and representing your brand. It is a way to underline your company’s core brand values and establish your executive team as thought leaders in the industry. Perhaps most importantly, it is an opportunity for growth that can lead to increased media opportunities.
The better your clients’ media presence is, the more opportunities will open up. The more opportunities are created, the more eyes are drawn to the company. It is a form of earned media that can be a priceless asset for your company.
So: how can you prepare for media exposure?
Preparation Is Key
Even the most skilled public speakers get briefed before interacting with the media. Nobody probably knows this better than politicians. Presidential candidates, for example, train for their debates with mock debates. They go over different scenarios, memorize statistics, learn their opponent’s facts and prepare rebuttals for criticism.
Preparation is key to a successful media outing. As with politicians, this includes not only your client’s answers but also anticipating which questions may be asked and rebuttals may be given.
Screening the journalist and media outlet you are speaking with ahead of time can help. You may want to ask the interviewer questions ahead of time or ask for a few questions to be sent over prior to the interview to establish the angle. This also allows your client to field the questions in advance, establish a tone, prepare clear answers, and avoid getting into tricky situations.
Sound bites are another way to help your client. A form of verbal topic statement, these easily digestible and quotable short snippets pack the essence of a larger statement. They are then supported by statistics and anecdotes. Sound bites provide a safety net and enable your client to establish a baseline to fall back on in tricky situations.
All of these steps can help your clients build confidence. This will also show in their tone, body language, and other visual signs. For both audio and video interviews, it is advisable to smile while answering questions. This technique is taught to most customer service representatives as a smiling voice appears friendlier and more positive.
For on-camera situations, it is helpful to practice the interview situation and analyze the results. Unlike audio or print, on-camera interviews require controlled body language. The more on-camera practice your clients get, the more natural their responses will become – both verbally and physically.
By handing your clients the tools necessary to stay calm and positive throughout the media experience, you help them to dominate the message and stay on-brand. If you are looking for a partner to help media train you and improve your media presence, contact the experts at GYC Vegas, the leading PR agency in Las Vegas.