Whenever a pitch has hung up in my strike zone, I’ve crushed it.
When I was a reporter, if I saw a way to walk around the yellow-taped perimeter of a crime scene to talk to a cop about a murder, I did.
When I was recently upgraded to first class on a flight — and a very successful R&B singer asked me what I did for a living– I told him all about my business. (He asked me for a card.)
My point: I’ve always known how to capitalize on opportunities when they’ve been presented to me.
The saddest thing a client I was media training ever said to me was: “I had a great soundbite all worked out, but the reporter never asked me the right question!”
“Never, ever wait for a reporter to ask you the right question,” I said. “Take control of the interview.”
If you pay attention, there are always openings and opportunities to work in your messages. But you have to be able to recognize them and think quickly on your feet to capitalize on them.
Being able to see and seize these opportunities requires a certain mindset.
Recently, one of my twitter followers (@ShannonPaul) shared a blog post Erik Calonius wrote about lucky people. He discussed a study in which people were given a newspaper. They were then asked to count the number of photographs in the paper.
Some “lucky” people finished in a few seconds while other “unlucky” people took two minutes. What was the difference? The “lucky” people read the answer on page 2 of the newspaper, “’Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.’”
How did the “unlucky” people miss that?
Calonius quotes the author of the study.
“’Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else… Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.’”
The same holds true for media interviews. If you’re so worried about what the reporter is going to ask you and how you’re going to respond, you’re never going to be able to capitalize on opportunities within an interview.
Instead, try to relax. Focus on what the reporter is asking and quickly assess how you can work in messages that you want to express. If you see this interview as an opportunity, not an ordeal, your chances of success are greatly improved!
If you would like to read more of our tips, check out our other media training blogs.
If you’re ready to seize the day and want to schedule a media training session, please contact us. We would be delighted to customize a program that fits your exact needs.
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