Steve Hyland and Linda Bazant have created a media interview training facility for business and a weekly online business news programme: Business Connections Live.

Steve & Linda Business Connections Live

An important part of their work is to coach people who have little or no experience with a media interview and to prepare them for the challenge of an interview.  Steve and Linda are contributors to the new book Transform Your Communications Skills. Here is an extract with their advice on how to handle the media.


Media interviews are a two-way street

You’ll have information or breaking news to impart; the media want a story. Media interviews are  a form of negotiation where both parties have their own agendas.  Appreciating this then you’ll enter the exchange with eyes wide open and brain fully engaged. The benefits in terms of public relations can be substantial, especially if you become known as one of the go-to people for expert input in media interviews.

Gaining the status of a ‘go-to’ person means you have built a relationship and gained the trust of the media. You are trusted to impart correct and accurate information. Also, the expectation is that you will provide personal comment that would be of interest to their media audience.

 The repercussions of bad press due to poor performance are legendary. This is why it is vital to prepare, practise and perform professionally and avoid embarrassment of bad media interviews.

Even though the form of media interviews may be different the essentials remain constant. The more you think ahead the more prepared you’ll be, particularly if you anticipate left-field questions. These are surprise topical questions or ones on the margin of your expertise in which a reporter asks your opinion. Check the media for breaking stories and check on company policy, before you say something you’ll regret.

 A reporter may want to develop their own interesting angle to the story. In a business scenario it is wise to prepare for questions related to:
• Your particular field of expertise – that will probably be the reason you have been contacted in the first place. For example, as a result of a PR release.
• Your company and its operations – especially if your market segment is in the news for any reason
• Wider business related issues
• Your reaction to any breaking news in politics or wider topics that could be newsworthy.

If your input is instrumental in creating an interesting piece of journalism then you could be placed on a contact list with future opportunities by giving to gain influence.
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