Never stutter in front of the shutter

3 minutes read

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

You know your stuff. You can rattle off facts and findings in your sleep. Your delivery is pitch-perfect when you practice in front of the mirror.

But something happens when that little red light above the camera, in the studio or on the voice recorder blinks on. Your mind empties, your mouth goes dry, your sweat glands kick into overdrive and you deliver a bang-on impersonation of a bunny in the headlights.

The good news is you’re not alone in finding media interviews daunting. The better news is Aruga has an arsenal of tactics and tips to help you master your media appearance. So calm down, mic up and read on!

Before the interview

  • Re-familiarise yourself with your key messages and have them with you, printed on a single sheet of paper so you can easily and discreetly reference them if needed.
  • Draft and rehearse an opening statement. To paraphrase one of the great modern poets of our time (Eminem), “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance” to come out of the gates strong and nail your key message. The unpredictability of a live interview means it can be easily derailed by talkback callers, technical glitches or other parties speaking off-topic.
  • Don’t be afraid to call the shots before the camera starts rolling. Keep control of the interview by setting a time limit and outlining any other conditions such as off-limit topics or questions. The moment? You own it. (Yes, Eminem again)
  • Be ready to go five minutes before the interview. This gives you time to take a few deep breaths, centre yourself and re-read your key messages. You may be nervous but on the surface, you look calm and ready (OK, we’re sending Slim Shady back to 8 Mile).

During the interview

  • Loop in your key messages every chance you get.
  • Adapt the wording of your messages and language to the target audience and media outlet. For instance, a bright and breezy segment on Studio 10 will call for a lighter touch and simpler language than, say, a panel appearance on Q&A.
  • Draw on examples to support your key messages such as stories, statistics and studies.
  • Make sure you get the last word and drop one final key message into the end of the interview with a simple: “Can I leave you with this thought…”

Do you have questions of your own? Such as “How do I write Key Messages?” or “What makes a story newsworthy?” or “How can I make maximum impact in minimum time?”

Aruga has you covered with part three of our Media Training 101 series – continue your crash course here!

Learn how we can work with you to develop and deliver tailored media training. Our team of qualified journalists can take a single spokesperson through their paces – from on-camera training to interview coaching – or develop a whole-of-company media plan with key messages, talking points, and briefing notes.

*We’re also 100% across Beyoncé’s back catalogue.

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

Belinda Seeney is Aruga’s Director of Content and a Walkley Award-winning print and digital journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in community, regional and metropolitan newspapers, magazines and websites.