PR Industry Trends

5 Steps to Nail Every Media Interview (Step 3: Work On The Transition From One Message To The Next)

During my last posts, we introduced the first two steps in nailing every Q&A session; start with the questions and then develop your key messages that answer every question. Now on to step three.

This is the rule that most people pay little attention to in the early stages of our training sessions only to discover that this is what dictates success. Most people I train can easily become “one-message wonders,” meaning they can answer each question with a key message. Some may define that as success, but the job is to make sure your audience walks away with three key messages. In order to do that, you must repeat each key message multiple times, which means every question must contain more than one key message. That is where the transitions come into play.

Memory Law 2: When you are in the hot seat facing the questions, your ability to think clearly is dramatically reduced (which is why we are wing-it challenged). 

I see it time and again. Even coming up with the simplest of transitions between key points can be difficult for some. To address this problem, I teach my students to develop the transitions between key messages before the interview and work on automatically delivering two key messages every time. Once they cross the “transition barrier,” teaching them to incorporate three key messages is easy.

So why is all of this important? Allow me to demonstrate with a few charts, and you tell me which spokesperson did better. During our training, we score our students on their ability to deliver their key messages. For each question they are asked, they get a tick. For each key message they deliver they get a tick.






Who do you think has a better shot at making sure their audience walks away with their key messages? Congrats, you have completed rocket science 202!

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About Brian Ellis:

Brian leads PadillaCRT's media and communication training consultancy. For more than a decade, he has coached corporate executives to become more effective communicators and presenters. As a former journalist, Brian offers a unique perspective on how the media operates during a crisis to such clients as Girl Scouts, Pfizer, Ford Motor Company, Atkins Corporation, The Federal Reserve, McNeil Specialty Pharmaceuticals, C.B. Fleet, Performance Food Group and Abbott Laboratories. His media training students are no strangers to national network programs such as ABC’s “Nightly News,” ABC’s “20/20,” NBC’s “Today Show,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” MSNBC and CNN. Prior to joining CRT/tanaka, Brian worked for 10 years as an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter, anchor and producer.

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