We’ve all been in a difficult business meeting, conference call or other workplace situations where tough questions catch us off-guard (if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky). It’s easy to become defensive but the worst place to let it get the best of you is during a media interview.
Whether it’s today’s climate where questionable behavior and sometimes nasty disagreements are more frequent or social media discord has seeped into our daily lives, I’ve been disheartned by an increase in unprofessional, testy behavior in various aspects of interviews with journalists.
Yes, journalists can sometimes be unprepared or ask unfair or challenging questions. But it is the job of the professional being interviewed and their PR pro to prepare and help navigate those tricky exchanges. If you know that the content discussed will be difficult, conduct a dry run and prepare responses ahead of time. Your media relations partner should ask the tough questions and help work through responses, so the SME isn’t going in anxious or cold.
Just remember, everything that occurs in an interview is on the record and on display – even poor behavior and antagonistic responses. As the old saying goes, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar.