If there is anyone who can teach you to shine in a media interview, it’s Laszlo Szabo. A former CBC journalist and federal press attaché, Laszlo teaches new real estate association presidents how to get their messages across.
View a short interview with Laszlo Szabo on Handling Media Interviews with Confidence.
What Laszlo teaches is somewhat counter-intuitive to many of our new presidents. “Although it’s their story, it’s your interview, he says. While it’s important to address the issue that was raised by the reporter, we should not be slave to the questions.”
Key to a successful interview, Laszlo teaches, is preparation. People need to go into an interview knowing what they want to get across, having messages already crafted and knowing the specific audience they’ll be reaching.
Part of that preparation involves creating media-friendly messages. Laszlo focuses on messages that are brief; no more than 20 seconds. He says, “If it takes you longer to present your position, either they won’t take it or they’ll edit it and that can distort your message.”
One of the fears that so many of us have when approaching a media interview is the fear that they’re going to hook us. They’re going to back us into a corner with their questions and get us to say something we never intended to say. Laszlo suggests you engage the reporter before the interview. Find out who else he or she has spoken with, and where the reporter wants to go with the story. Then you can anticipate and prepare for some of the questions you might be asked. If the reporter does throw you a curve, Laszlo suggests learning good bridging techniques that help you steer the question to the messages you’ve prepared.
Title: Handling Media Interviews with Confidence
Featuring: Laszlo Szabo, Delta Media
Length: 5:20 minutes
Check out more video interviews from the OREA Centre for Leadership Development.