When your organization is asked to participate in a media interview, the task of public speaking can be daunting. You may feel overwhelmed, under-prepared and nervous.

If this sounds like you, and you’re unsure how to become press ready, here are 5 tips from leading communications expert Debbie Wetherhead of Wetherhead Communications.

Debbie Wetherhead’s methods will teach you to organize your thoughts, bring credibility to your messaging, build a positive brand reputation and leave with a glowing personal impression.

Here are your 5 steps to media interviewing success:

  1. Set an Agenda: Before conducting an interview, get into an appropriate mindset by thinking about the following elements:
  • Understand the interviewer and outlet’s point-of-view and agenda
  • Take into consideration how their audience might already feel about your organization and understand if there’s a positive or negative preconceived reputation
  • Think about the headlines or story lead you want to generate from the interview
  • Take note of all up and downsides of participating in the interview

2. Develop Key Messages: Now that you are committed to the interview, you must arm yourself with 3 strong, memorable and concise key messaging points. Start crafting key messages by the following:

  • Define: Your product, service, program, organization’s point of view
  • Differentiate: The product, service, program, organization or point of view and show strategic leadership
  • Benefit: Focus on providing benefits tailored to the target audience. Clearly state, what’s in it for them?

3. Prove Your Points: Next, you have to prove your points in a credible way. The goal here is to introduce and reinforce key messaging using the following elements:

  • Facts: Use simple and descriptive statements
  • Statistics or Figures: Put numbers into easy-to-understand  terms
  • Authorities: Quote credible and relevant third-party experts, who are not on your pay-roll
  • Stories: Share a case study, personal experience, anecdote or analogy

4. Be Ready for the Q&A: The interview went well, now it’s time for the interviewer to ask questions. Speculate about potential interview inquiries you might receive. Go beyond the “who, what, when, where, why.” Take into account what’s topical in the news or your industry and what you are afraid of being asked. List about 20-25 potential questions and prepare yourself with key message-laden responses.

5. Make a Lasting Impression: People often remember what they heard first or last, it’s imperative to formulate a meaningful closing statement that reinforces your most important key message.

Still feeling nervous? Here are additional tips on personal presence:

  • Practice, practice, practice! Before Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, he meticulously practiced his presentation over and over. He knew the presentation and timing so well, that when the iPhone slide appeared, the time on the iPhone was the same exact time it was in the room.  To the minute.
  • Know your messaging inside and out, be prepared to say the same message in different ways
  • Use direct eye contact
  • Stand in a balanced stance or lean forward slightly when seated
  • Make natural hand movements
  • Keep your energy level high or appropriate for the situation
  • Temper your body language to reflect the nature of the topic