Helping you get media coverage
RSS Sources Select News RSS Feed | SOURCESCalendar   

Involve Your Audience During TV Interviews

By Al Rothstein

President, Al Rothstein Media Services, Inc.

Stretch your memories back to last January’s Super Bowl. Remember the great commercials? (Most people remember them more vividly than the game.) Those high-tech super spots got your attention because they made the most of the television medium, painting vivid pictures on the screen and in your brain.

In the real world, if you ask me what I do for a living, and I respond with, "I’m a media consultant," you may have only a very general idea of what I do. That’s because I’ve only given you a broad answer, open to a number of interpretations. But if I respond by putting a microphone in your face and saying, "I will teach you how to protect yourself when a reporter does this," I will have illustrated my point much more effectively because I have involved you in my response.

When you are interviewed for television, try these tips to involve the audience and illustrate your points:

  • Use phrases like "People who are watching this...," "Your family, friends or neighbors...," "Our employees are parents too, they understand the concerns..."
  • Remember that you have to make your point quickly, because reporters generally are looking for quick soundbites. Keeping this in mind, rehearse brief answers to anticipated questions that tell your story vividly, like: "This isn’t about money, this is about families."
  • Supply the reporter with concise written data. Often he or she can use the information in on-screen graphics to help viewers understand the points you want to make.

Keep in mind, too, that people who are watching the news are usually doing something else as well, like washing clothes, eating dinner or helping the kids with homework. It’s up to you to get their attention. Involving them in your answers and, when possible, painting a picture with your words are effective ways to do it!

Courtesy of Al Rothstein Media Services, Inc., specialists in spokesperson training and media relations seminars.
Phone: 1-800-453-6352

See also:

Getting the Most from Interviews
Guidelines for successful interviews
Off the Record
After the interview
Backing it Up
Oh, the Mistakes Spokespeople Make: Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview
When Bad Things Happen to Good Spokespeople: Handling Tough Interviews
Meeting the Media Face-to-Face
Sources Media Training