In my media training I have often told folks that they should also speak AND listen, not only to the questions being asked but to the reaction you’re getting to the question. Is the reporter furiously typing on the other end of the phone? Are they trying to keep pace with you during a news conference? If so then slow down your pace and repeat for emphasis (especially if the information you’re providing is critical). While much of this theory applies to print journalists it can also apply to broadcast and online reporters as well because it allows you to pinpoint for them the important information you want to convey.
I will continue to emphasize this tip in my sessions. Thanks for sharing!
Great tip, Brad! I’ve noticed the click, clack numerous times during interviews and often begin to slow the pace just to be sure they can keep up. I also pause longer than normal in between sentences. If they’re still click, clacking away, sometimes I’ll just ask if they need more time or if I should continue. Since I was the slowest writer/typist on earth in my reporting days, the reaction is probably instinctual. What I haven’t been doing, however, is advising those I line up for interviews to do the same. I’ll certainly start doing that now. Thanks for helping me realize that!
Thank you very much for your comment and kind words about the video tip. And great point regarding its application to broadcast interviews as well! You’re right that adopting a slower and more deliberate pace right before making a critical point will help your key message stand out.
Thanks for your comment and for adding an important piece: that it’s a good practice to ask reporters whether you should slow down or continue. If I do a “part two” video on a similar theme, I’ll be sure to include that good advice.
Hope all is well. Thanks for taking the time to watch the video.
A great tip.
I have found these days more and more Journalists who conduct phone interviews are recording them on voice recorders. To ensure there is complete transparency and to keep within my country’s federal laws, I ask the Journalist if they are recording. I then ask do they mind if I record for my records.
This recording has now put both the Journalist and yourself on the path to a complete record of what was said. Nothing can be mistaken.
Also, if the Journalist skews their article/story you have a complete record to seek correction if required. The recording is also great for your bosses as it protects you and what you said versus what the Journalist thought you said and reported.
I also encourage all interviewees to bring a voice recorder to Media interviews and openly place it on the table next to the Journalist’s so there is no mistake you are also recording the event for truthfullness.
This way yuou can send a copy of the interview to your bosses before the story is aired or published.
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The Mr. Media Training Blog offers daily tips to help readers become better media spokespersons and public speakers. It also examines how well (or poorly) public figures are communicating through the media.
Brad Phillips is the Founder and Managing Editor of the Mr. Media Training Blog. He is the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm with offices in NYC and DC.
Before founding Phillips Media Relations in 2004, Brad worked as a journalist with ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel and CNN's Reliable Sources and The Capital Gang.
Brad tweets at @MrMediaTraining.
Christina Mozaffari is the Senior Writer for the Mr. Media Training Blog. She is the Washington, D.C. vice president for Phillips Media Relations.
Before joining Phillips Media Relations in 2011, Christina worked as a journalist with NBC News, where she produced stories for MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show.