Author: Zach Knaus
It seems only fitting that on the day of President Obama’s first State of the Union address, which is one of the busiest nights for media interviews in the country, that MGA would host a presentation on how to coach individuals in media interviews. This morning, myself and fellow MGAer Sarah Rasmussen met with a group of nonprofit leaders from the Denver metro area for our newest installment in the series of presentations that we offer to nonprofit organizations called the Nonprofit Buzz. This series is free for nonprofit organizations.
MGAers Sarah Rasmussen, right, and Zach Knaus, left, offer advice to nonprofit leaders on preparing for and conducting interviews with the news media.
The presentation was interesting, because of the variety of concerns voiced by the nonprofit organizations that attended. For example, one person wanted to know how to effectively improve the ability of their nonprofit’s leaders to talk about the nonprofit’s mission and goal with reporters. Another participant asked for advice on cultivating a relationship with reporters, while many in the group were thankful for the tips we offered on calming your nerves.
The main theme of our advice was to practice, practice, and practice. We discussed the importance of having an internal process for managing media requests and to take time to think before answering questions. Another key point was the importance of asking some questions of the reporter upon the first call – and not doing an interview on the spot; set up a time for later, even if it’s just 15 minutes from the call. This gives you time to properly prepare.
We also showed some examples of what not do in a media interview, including this awful in-studio appearance on National Public Radio by Sigur Ros, and (one of) the infamous Tom Cruise appearance on the Today Show.
Today’s session was a shortened version of our full media training, in which we do on-camera practice and quiz our clients with possible questions (and offer advice on the answers, of course!).
If you are a nonprofit interested in improving the capacity of your organization, then please contact us to receive e-mail updates on future Nonprofit Buzz sessions.