Media Training for Authors: Preparing and Avoiding Pitfalls

How Media Training Helps Authors Maximize Interviews

Successful book publicity campaigns are built; beneficial media relationships must be earned. When selected for an interview, it’s crucial for an author to prepare well. So, whether across the table from a news reporter, under the glare of TV lights, or behind your desk with a phone in hand, be ready. Media interviews often yield the most significant opportunity for an author, expert, or business leader to promote a book — and yet they pose many challenges if not handled successfully.

Preparation Shortcuts

With careful preparation, successful authors can deliver messages with poise and focus — turning the interview into an opportunity to present your marketing messages to thousands of readers, viewers, and listeners with remarkable and even profitable results.

Take the Lead

●      Start the relationship

●      State your thesis

●      Stick to the subject

Be a Teacher

●      Speak in headlines

●      Use simple language

●      Pause, leave space for questions

●      Explain acronyms

●      Use examples and stories

●      Use metaphors and visuals

Beware of Pitfalls

●      Silence is not your enemy

●      Don’t recognize absent third parties (references or rumors)

●      Don’t repeat negatives

●      You are never off-the-record

●      Watch for the paraphraser

●      Refrain from off-the-cuff remarks

Have Your 20/2/20/2 Message Prepared

Be able to tell your message in 20 seconds, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, and 2 hours.

Body Language is a Consideration in Author Media Training

Keep in mind that you may have perfected a great message; you might know your medium and your audience, but if you can’t pull off the act of communication, nothing else will matter. In nearly all interviews, how you say something is as important as what you say. People receive messages better from an enthusiastic tone of voice, relaxed body language, and the confidence you exude.

Research has shown that 55-percent of a message’s credibility comes from non-verbal sources. Tone and attitude account for 38-percent believability, and only 7-percent of a message’s believability comes from verbal messages—the words you’re saying. So, don’t worry, be happy.

Handling Interviews Well Means Getting Across Key Messages

The most common mistake committed in interviews is to become fixated on the questions and lose sight of your agenda points. It makes you a passive respondent. Don’t feel obliged to answer every question specifically. The most effective spokespeople listen for the more significant issue behind each question and address it as they choose. Author media training experts refer to it as the technique of blocking and bridging.

Use the method of blocking and bridging to stay on track with your message points and to take control of the interview. Typically in a non-argumentative, friendly interview environment, appropriately positioned answers will lead the reporter in the direction that you’d like to go.

Interviewers are there to gather facts and sound bites and ultimately share your story with their audience. A reporter wants to file a great story using your uniquely crafted colorful messages; it’s a win-win.

by Kristi Hughes