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Not all business leaders are natural speakers, but they often need to promote their businesses on TV, the radio, podcasts or other media channels. For the inexperienced speaker, this can be a terrifying prospect. After all, the impression you make as a leader will be the first impression many viewers or listeners have of your business.
As experienced business leaders themselves, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council have a few tips to share that can help you prepare for your first media appearance. Follow one or more of their suggestions to not only nail your interview but impress potential customers as well.
Relax and Be Yourself
Just be your authentic, brilliant self. Speak from a real and honest place, and all that you say will resonate with those watching or listening. Be prepared by having some key topic reminders to keep you on track to ensure you get the message you want across. – Justine Murphy, mymuybueno
Tell Your Unique Story
No one else has your lived experience. No one else has your upbringing, failures, risks or the level of considered care that you have for the problem you’re trying to solve. Figure out how to tell that story succinctly, and then tell it to anyone who will listen. And don’t forget to smile. Investor Arlan Hamilton says, “Be yourself so that the people looking for you can find you.” – Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare, Inc.
Speak From a Place of Passion
Anchor your presentation in your passion. Know your “why” — it adds depth to your message, making it resonate more authentically. When you speak with genuine enthusiasm for your cause or craft, it not only boosts your credibility but also naturally engages your audience. People remember sincerity more than a sales pitch. – Seth Yudof, Fan Rebellion
Prepare and Practice
There are simple ways to make an interview fun and engaging. Prepare talking points and run them by a friend or colleague. It also helps to record yourself and watch or listen to the footage. Have one sound bite in your back pocket — a 10- to 15-second message that is crisp and catchy. And as the neuroscientist Richard Sapolsky said in a lecture, “If it’s important, it will be repeated many times.” – Jahan Marcu, Marcu Enterprises
Highlight How Your Brand Solves a Problem
For any media interview, always be prepared. Do some prep interviews with questions. Keep in mind that media coverage is huge for your brand, which means that you need to prove to news consumers that your brand is a solution to a problem. If you own an on-demand app, for example, show how people can find everything they need with the swipe of a finger instead of having to do hundreds of online searches. – Paul Fitzgerald, Salt & Pepper Media Inc.
Be Clear, Concise and Direct
Be direct. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most charismatic speaker or a known wordsmith; when you are clear and concise with your agenda, opinions and mission, you will convey that with a confidence and clarity that engages people. – Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy
Talk About What You Know
Prepare for interviews in advance, but don’t over-prepare. Conversations should not feel like a script that has been overly rehearsed. Speak carefully and confidently about what you know. Authenticity — and even more so, being inauthentic — is easily detected, so be honest and be yourself. – Allie Gruensfelder, Trendsetter Media & Marketing
Lean Into Your Strengths
Know your strengths and weaknesses and lean into the former. If you’re not great off the cuff, prepare like it’s a test. If you’re naturally funny, have something fun to share (assuming the venue and topic are appropriate). Get feedback from your team, PR agency or family through practice rounds to ensure your self-evaluation is accurate. There’s nothing worse than a bad dad joke that gets crickets on national TV. – John Tabis, M13
Have a Peer-to-Peer Discussion
Don’t use industry jargon. It’s alienating. Assume your viewer or listener has no knowledge of the magic behind the scenes, just simply a problem to solve. Speak to answering that problem, and present solutions peer-to-peer, so as to come from a place of equality. Trite as it is to say, go with the flow and don’t over-rehearse your words, or it will come across poorly. – Cate Rubenstein
Listen to and Engage With the Interviewer
Too many people focus too much on delivering their pre-prepared message and don’t fully connect with the conversation. Actively listening and engaging with the interviewer shows respect and makes the conversation dynamic. Plus, it makes you more flexible and memorable in the process. – Jessica Billingsley, Akerna