Media Interview Training is a one-day media training course for spokespeople and communication professionals. It covers the full range of media interview strategies and techniques, from preparation to performance. The course includes realistic on-camera interview simulations with individual coaching in a positive, supportive, confidence-building environment.

You will gain insight into journalists, news values and interview dynamics that will help you to anticipate questions and take control of interviews. You will familiarise with cameras and microphones by practicing in our realistic broadcast-standard mobile studio. You will gain self-awareness and improve your voice projection and body language. The course covers interviews with all forms of media: TV, radio, print and online. Other topics include structured interview preparation, proactive messaging, and universal techniques for handling difficult questions.

NOTE: this is ISOC’s open public media training course. We also deliver many customised private media training courses for individuals and groups from the same organisation. Find out more or contact us for details.

This course covers the following modules:

  • Preparing effectively and performing confidently
  • On-camera simulation and feedback coaching
  • Controlling the interview dynamic (with simulation exercise)
  • Answering difficult questions (with simulation exercise)

Course outline

Preparing effectively and performing confidently

This module covers the core concepts of media training theory, including practical examples in video clips.

  • The strategic importance of media interviews for reputation management
  • Developing and using messages in interviews
  • Using soft and hard proof points to make messages credible and memorable
  • Understanding news values and how these will affect the interview
  • Body language and physical appearance
  • Working with cameras and microphones
  • Structured preparation using a step-by-step model

On-camera simulation and feedback coaching

In this module, you will prepare systematically for an imaginary scenario and then take part in a simulated media interview, followed by individual feedback

  • Evaluating the journalist, media and news environment
  • Preparing messages and proof points
  • Anticipating and preparing answers for likely questions
  • Simulated interview on camera with a training journalist
  • Video replay with individual performance coaching

This interview scenario will be friendly and straightforward. The purpose is familiarisation, self-awareness and confidence building.

Managing interview dynamics (with simulation exercise)

In this module, you will learn to understand the underlying dynamics of media interviews, in order to take control of the agenda. This is followed by another simulation exercise.

  • Interviewer tactics to watch out for
  • Power dynamics
  • Managing aggressive or pushy questioning
  • Guiding the agenda: proactive messaging
  • Simulated interview on camera with a training journalist
  • Video replay with individual performance coaching

This interview will focus on a positive news announcement. The purpose is to practice proactive messaging, while implementing performance feedback.

Answering difficult questions (with simulation exercise)

In this module, you will learn techniques for answering difficult questions, including universally effective approaches. This is followed by another simulation exercise.

  • Seven categories of question that do not need to be answered
  • The classic “blocking and bridging” approach and its shortcomings
  • The flexible “dig for gold” strategy
  • The universal “zoom in, zoom out” technique

The final interview will include some challenging questions, as appropriate to each learner’s level. The learning atmosphere remains positive and confidence building.

Who should attend

This is a universal course designed for a wide range of learners. Training is pitched at a level to help you analyse core concepts and execute universal skills.

This course is recommended for anyone who may be involved in media interviews or briefing the media on behalf of a spokesperson. Participants may be working either behind the scenes in a PR advisory role or as a spokesperson.

Learning outcomes

Personal performance

  • Conduct confident and effective interviews
  • Project credibility and authority
  • Build confidence and self-awareness
  • Perform calmly under pressure
  • Practice in a safe environment with personal coaching
  • Learn from your own mistakes and others’
  • Come to enjoy interviews as a stimulating challenge
  • Familiarise with broadcast and studio technology
  • Improve body language and appearance for TV
  • Improve everyday communication and presentation

Strategic media engagement

  • Communicate powerful and memorable messages
  • Take control of your image in the media
  • Angle your good news for maximum impact
  • Crisis response: limit the damage of bad news
  • Understand and control interview dynamics
  • Hear directly from journalists about their motivations and news values
  • Don’t follow the journalist: set your own agenda and drive the news
  • Handle difficult questions and turn them to your advantage
  • Recognise and avoid common mistakes, tricks and pitfalls
  • Prepare for all kinds of media encounter for TV, radio and print

Looking for more?

Media Interview Training is a standalone course — but you can also take it as part of one of the following longer Programmes:

Intensive Communications and PR Programme (10 days)

Intensive Media Relations Programme (5 days)

More courses

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