Now – Can you say it in under 9 seconds? That’s about all the time you have in a typical TV interview sound bite. So it’s important to make every word count.
Sound impossible? Not if you practice. Like most everything else, being good at media interviews is a skill that you acquire through training and practice. And practice is especially important if you want to distill your company message into a usable sound bite.
One of the main challenges in being interviewed by the news media is learning how to tell your story in a clear and concise way. You can complain that you aren’t given enough time to do your message justice, but you aren’t going to change the medium. It is what it is, and if you want media coverage, you will have to adjust your communication style to be compatible with media time constructions.
Most television news shows are 30 minutes. Take out commercial time, weather and sports, and the reporters don’t have much time at all to tell their audience the news of the day. Brevity is essential.
So let’s say you are fortunate enough to have attracted the attention of the media, and a TV interview is scheduled. This is your opportunity to get your message out to a large number of people at once.
You will be interviewed by a reporter (or in some cases, a camera operator), and he or she may have background information on you and your organization, but that’s not your audience. Your audience is the person at home watching. You must be able to clearly explain your point of view to that person – the one with very little background information – in 9 seconds or less.
You must make every word count. And that takes practice.