The media and the exhibition industry have a long standing partnership. The media uses exhibitions as a fertile field from which they harvest industry information. Exhibitions, on the other hand, use the media as a conduit to reach a large marketplace of potential exhibitors and attendees.
To be successful both sides need to be keenly sensitive to the needs of the other.
Whitney Greer, CEO of the US based The Branduality Group in a recent blog post listed five key errors to avoid when talking to the media.
- Quoting the press release. When asked questions such as, what’s new at your exhibition this year, don’t simply quote information already circulated in a press release. The media likes a good back-story.
- Taking a passive role. The best interviews are those that sound like a conversation which means fill the interview with rhetorical or thoughtful questions which will ultimately give the reporter more valuable information.
- Inserting marketing language. You might add to this avoid industry jargon. Often the interviewer will be up to date on jargon and acronyms but sometimes they aren’t. Don’t run the risk of losing their attention by not using ordinary easy to understand language.
- Using space fillers. Inexperienced interviewers fill pauses with world like Umm, sort of… well… I’m…. Practice your interview ahead of time and make sure that when you open your mouth to speak you are using complete and strong sentences and not distracting fillers.
- Stumbling over the question. Be prepared to handle questions that catch you off-guard. You can’t know the answer to everything so don’t pretend that you do. Your pre-interview rehearsal should alert you to sensitive or difficult questions that you may not know the answer to. This will give you time to develop a reply. But, if the reporter still asks a difficult question then let them know that you will get the answer. Then you need to fulfill this promise.
This posting is a good refresher for anyone who finds themselves in front of an interviewer at some point in their career.