Sunday is my dreaded “cleaning day.” It’s also my “can’t wait to catch up on all of my TV shows” day, like “This Is Us,” Megyn Kelly on “Today” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Mid-Swiffer, my ears perked up when Kris Jenner said, “I don’t like questions from the press.”
She and Kim Kardashian started discussing an upcoming media training the family signed up for.
“We’ve been doing media interviews for a decade, but we’ve never had media training,” Kim added.
I nearly dropped my Swiffer.
To think the Kardashian family, as popular and influential as they are—not to mention how often they’re seen across the internet and in every tabloid at the grocery stores—has never been media trained? The publicist in me couldn’t believe it. It’s is one of the most important things public relations professionals do. Our goal is for our partners to be comfortable and confident in each interview they do, whether radio or print, national or local.
Similar to our media training process, the Kardashians were part of a “mock interview” with some super-tough questions, which was played back in a big conference room. The trainers walked through the good and not-so-good after the interview. It can be cringe-worthy to watch back, but you learn from it. That’s why we do it. We promise.
Here are a few key lessons the expert trainers in the room gave to Kim, Kris, Kourtney, Khloe and Kendall:
When you’re anxious about the interview topic, you naturally speak faster and therefore have less control of what you say and how you say it. Deliberately speak slower. Be in control.
Ask yourself: “What do I not want to talk about?” Then prepare for those questions. Know what you want to say and how you want to say it, before you walk into the room for your interview. If you’re ready for that tough question, nothing will throw you off.
Be thoughtful of the first five words that come out of your mouth during an interview. Don’t start with “I think.” If you make sure the initial words are content and not just sound, you’ll be cleaner right out of the gate.
While they didn’t talk about these pointers, I think they’re just as important:
1) Going into your interview, know the three main points you want to clearly get across. And know your time constraints so you can be sure to get them in.
2) Be prepared. That’s what media training is all about. Go into the interview knowing about the interviewer, what their style is, the purpose of the interview and how long it will be, your key talking points and smart information to back it up, and be ready to share personal examples and stories.
3) Above everything else, as I like to tell my sisters, “Do you!” Be yourself. Authenticity is remembered. Always. #BeAuthentic
No matter who you are or what level media you’re talking to—should it be your local newspaper, a radio interview on NPR or a segment on “Good Morning America”—it’s your chance to shine and be the smart and savvy expert you’ve worked so hard to become.
Interviews get easier with patience and practice. In the Kardashians’ case, it’s never too late to start—no matter how long you’ve been doing media interviews or how many you’ve had. These media dynamos said they learned a lot through their training, and you would, too.
So here’s my challenge: Hit up a media training session before you hit the microphone again!
Ryann Bouchard-Guglielmo is a public relations manager and media relations maven. Follow her on Twitter or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.