We began one of our recent media training seminars by asking the attendees to imagine that just outside the door were a reporter and camera crew from one of the local TV stations ready to interview them. How would they feel?
Most agreed the butterflies were already fluttering. One person asked if there was an exit in the back of the room.
Many of us have such a reaction when it comes to facing the media. A reporter with a note pad, microphone and camera is intimidating. Facing a press conference with multiple cameras and microphones can at first seem like a nightmare.
So, how to remain confident in front of the media?
Know your message. If you were an actor, you wouldn't go on stage without knowing your lines. The same applies to a press conference or interview. Know what you want to say. Even better, practice saying it.
Prepare for questions. Reporters are not stenographers. They're not there to simply record what you have to say. They want answers to questions that might be more difficult for you to answer. Being prepared for those questions with solid answers helps you stay conifident.
Remember the real audience. You're not holding the press conference to chat with the media. You're doing it to reach the public, your customers or supporters. That means the media is really there to do you a favor. Embrace it. Run with it.
Ultimately, the best way to remain confident when interacting with the media is to practice. Give yourself the opportunity to start small and build to more high profile situations over time.
Mack Communications | Twitter: @mack_comm