Her extreme opposite is a new client I recently media-trained after watching her crash and burn in a national TV interview.
This is her story:
After 4 years, this author, let's call her Lucy, had a publisher, a pub date and was invited to appear on a national morning show for a 4-minute segment with a popular female host.
She had a day to prepare. Not an early bird, Lucy, was unfamiliar with this a specific morning show but felt confident-she was the expert. She sat down and imagined the questions she would be asked.
Afterwards, looking wildly in her closet, she had nothing new to wear. Out she went and purchased a black, short Armani suit, a silk polka dot blouse and sexy red heels. She knew the skirt was a tad too short, but she had great legs and it gave her a little 'edge'.
She called her publicist, found out her call-time was 6:00 am and was told she'd get the format later. Later never happened.
That night Lucy lay sleepless until 3:00 am . Finally at 6:00 am she flew out of bed, scrambling to answer her publicist's frantic call wondering where she was. She overslept. Careening out of her apartment, she ran and found a cab. Not a great start.
Her publicist (happy to see her alive) looked askance at her mini and suggested she not cross her legs.The hair and make-up man thought she was an actress. (maybe "edgy" was off) The producer informed her that her segment was bumped back and that the host was replaced due to a breaking news story. As for the format? No mention.
The producer suggested she keep her jacket closed since the polka dots would most likely jump.
What with no breakfast and too many cups of coffee, Lucy was becoming unglued.
The publicist, behind schedule, gave her an air-kiss and waved goodbye. At last, she was retrieved from the green room and escorted to the set.
The bright lights were blinding and it was hard not to trip over the cables, particularly in 3 - inch heels, but she landed on a squishy sofa while the sound man slipped a wire up her blouse and clipped a mike to her lapel.
" Do a sound check," he said.
"What's that?" she queried.
There she sat across from America's favorite substitute Dad. He leaned over and whispered, "Sorry, but I just don't approve of male bashing", and extended his hand.
Male bashing? In a nanosecond, she realized they were are not on the same team.
Lucy was told not to look at the camera but to keep her eyes on Big Bad Dad.
Before she knew it, the camera was rolling and the anchor asked an abrasive question. Lucy spat out a response and continued to go up in flames with his on-going queries and her endless defense.
He was the household name, not she. Oh, he never asked a question she prepared.
Watching her, I remember thinking her voice sounded disembodied and tinny. She seemed unable to sit upright with her legs glued together and why was she bobbing up and down?
Before she knew it, it was over.
Her publisher wished she had more on-air experience.(Hence the call to me.) Her agent suggested she just forget it. (Does he mean the book? ) Her friends loved her shoes, but wondered what was wrong with her voice.
She took to her bed and emerged 2 days later and swore she would never be ambushed again.
I love Lucy, and after media training her, she now knows:
Prepare, Organize and Rehearse for every media, press, radio and new media interview.
- Never imagine anything.
- Thoroughly research the program
- Find out who the audience is. Decide beforehand, what is in it for them? How can they benefit from what you have to say?
- Figure out what you want the audience to do, think or feel as a result of your interview.
- Stave off the impulse to shop or run for botox shots. Find a comfortable, attractive outfit that doesn't upstage your message.
- Organize your wardrobe and all the little things you might need like water, tissues, contact lens and shelve anything plaid , polka dotted or glittery.
- Reconfirm time, date, address, and the format the day before. Set your alarm clock.
- Eat a healthy breakfast and drink water. It hydrates you and your voice.
- On the set, sit at the edge of your seat and lean towards the host. Mirror his/her energy and body language.
- Use the host's first name. Smile and thank the host for having you.
- Keep the interview conversational.
- Anticipate the tough questions.
- Prepare the 3 to 5 core messages you want to state.
- Say them in short, clear and dynamic sound bites. Think in headlines.·
- Figure out a strong grabber to open your interview.
- At the end of the interview, repeat your key points.
- Bridge any questions asked back to your core messages.
- End with a "call to action to the audience.
- Practice the interview beforehand until it becomes second nature.
- Video-tape it.
- Vocalize the day of the interview. Sing, breathe, do 10 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
- During the interview, pause and breathe between thoughts.
- Never get defensive. Smile and reframe any negative comment in a positive light.
- Take control of the interview and lead with your key messages.
- Get the red shoes. A little "edge" never hurt anyone. Have fun.