As a reporter and the senior strategist at BlissPR, I have done some of the media training for our firm’s clients. It is the best of both worlds for me. I get to appease my insatiable curiosity and learn new things without having to write a compelling story on deadline. What could be better?
In a recent media training session with four senior executives, I came away with a few nuggets of knowledge that might be helpful to those who need to help corporate leaders be more effective in front of the press.
1. Drill down
As the leader of the training session, you’ll attend the session prepared with a series of questions that reflect what the reporters will ask. But let me tell you a secret—rarely does a reporter follow a list of questions during an interview.
Sure, we journalists send a smattering of questions to the communications vice president so she can prep the executive for the interview, but the truth is, we really conduct interviews by the seat of our pants.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re prepared and will use the questions as a guideline for the interview but, more often or not, we stray. The interviewee will say something to pique our interest, and we’ll be off running in another direction.