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Lesson 20. Mastering the Media - Pg. 78

78 Chapter 20. Mastering the Media In this lesson you learn how to use your presentation skills to participate in effective interviews. While you're working in an organization, you may be called by a member of the press for an interview. It might be conducted over the telephone and used in a radio broadcast, or the information from your interview might appear in a newspaper or magazine article. You may be interviewed on camera, and your responses aired on local or national news. Interviews can be conducted for a variety of purposes: 1. 2. 3. 4. To provide background information for a news story To supply general material on your specific organization To focus on a controversial decision or project that involves your company To provide information about you When a reporter calls and requests an interview, your natural reaction may be negative. It's easy to imagine yourself on a program like 60 Minutes being grilled by a hard-nosed interviewer who's out to expose some mistake you've made. Just remember that interviews can also give you an opportunity to make a positive impact. Giving an interview is a presentation just like any other. The same public-speaking skills apply here, plus a few others, and they'll enable you to conduct a successful interview. Prepare for the Interview The most important thing in any interview is to realize that this is your show, not the reporter's. Always try to stay in control, even if the reporter tries to throw you. Once you've received the invitation to be interviewed, begin planning for it. Most interviews are short, and you'll probably have an opportunity to deliver a single central message. After you answer each question, return to your central message so the interviewer will be sure to remember it. Tip Know your objectives. Start the interview with a central message and three pieces of evi- dence you want to get across. Then stay on track. Anticipate the questions, just as you would if you were preparing for a question-and-answer session. You'll probably have a pretty good idea of what the reporter is likely to ask. If you need help, talk to your colleagues and rehearse your answers with them. Be prepared with three questions that you'd like to be asked. Good interviewers will ask if there are any questions you'd like to address during the interview. When one doesn't, you can work your questions into the conversation. For example, you might answer the interviewer's question, then say, "and there's a related question that I think is equally important." Then deal with it.