Are you a company CEO, president or communications manager who regularly speaks in front of crowds? Do you know your industry and topics inside and out? If so, speaking with the media about what you know should be easy, right? Wrong.

Even experts need help in getting their message across to reporters in the most positive and effective way. Media training helps organize tone, thought and delivery. When speaking to the news media, preparation is critical and should not only be reserved for a crisis.

Here are five media training tips to help your interview:

No. 1: Tell a Story

stacked books, storytelling

People are visual. Give them a memorable story and it’ll remain etched in their minds. Plan what to say and practice saying it in short, concise statements.

No. 2: Be Prepared 

taking notes

Reporters often throw curveball questions. Be ready to answer them while maintaining composure. Practice delivering key messages while staying calm and poised.

No. 3: Look Sharp

wearing a suit

Eighty percent of communication is non-verbal. Body language can tell much more than the spoken word. Non-verbal cues can even contradict what is being said. Be confident and dress for the occasion. Maintaining good eye contact and pausing briefly before answering a question communicates sincerity and helps the interviewee organize information before speaking.

No. 4: Focus the Message

focusing

As the company’s thought leader and expert, determine three main ideas to convey in the interview. Stick to those key messages.

No. 5: Know What Reporters are Looking For 

studying in bed

Do your homework and look for interesting facts that will attract a reporter’s attention. Show the reporter you are a knowledgeable resource and want to help them. This will build rapport and a respectful relationship with a journalist.

As a former journalist, I have interviewed thousands of people, including business and industry leaders. Good interviewees are eloquent, knowledgeable and succinct.  The worst ones stumble, sound dry and appear ill-prepared. Poor interviews affect the individual’s and company’s credibility.

Media training is a must for anyone who might be asked to speak for their organization. The payoff? Establishing yourself as a go-to subject matter expert and raising the positive perception of your company’s brand.