Essential Media Skills

How to give a great interview and protect your message

The media can help us gain recognition for our good works or they can seemingly create issues where none exist – or shine the light on issues we’d rather not have out in the public view.

Whether you love the media or hate it, the media has a job to do. You can avoid the media at your peril, or you can find a way to work with it to get the right story told. Whether you come across in the media well or poorly is not up to the media: it’s up to you and your media spokesperson.

This practical and participatory course will prepare you to succeed in dealing with the media and staying in control of the media interview – and your message.

What you’ll learn

In this course you’ll not only learn to understand the media better and how to give them what they need, you’ll practice and apply what you learn in mock interviews. You’ll learn and practice, in a safe environment, to be confident and effective as a media spokesperson, and to remain in control of the interview.

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the media and what motivates them
  • Learn how to fully prepare for media interviews
  • Learn how to get key messages across clearly
  • Speak with greater confidence and influence when talking to the media
  • Learn how to think on your feet and deal with awkward questions
  • Convey a professional style when appearing on radio or camera
  • Learn how and when to follow up with the media

Who should take this course?

This highly practical one day course is suitable for those who haven’t given media interviews before, who have given some interviews but felt that they haven’t gone as well as they would have liked, or for those who want to improve their comfort and effectiveness in dealing with the media.

Participants will learn how to fully prepare for the interview, deal with difficult questions, get their message across successfully and present themselves effectively on radio and television and other types of media.

This course can be tailored for groups to meet address specific requirements.

Course outline


  • Personal introductions, expectations of the course, experience dealing with the media, biggest media challenge

Baseline Interview

  • Each participant will do a short introductory interview and receive feedback from participants and the instructor

Understanding the media

  • Understanding the media, what drives and motivates them, and what they are looking for in a story will help participants better prepare and deliver a media interview.

Speaking with greater confidence when talking to the media

  • Techniques to manage nerves and stress
  • Understanding how the non verbal elements of the voice convey powerful meanings
  • Developing a range of expressive vocal qualities to help influence your message
  • Using body language effectively
  • Using eye contact and facial energy to help enhance your impact
  • Combining voice and body language to help communicate a powerful message
  • What to wear/not to wear: clothes, jewellery, make-up etc.

Preparing for the media

  • Knowing your audience
  • Understanding the interviewer’s perspective
  • Understanding the story
  • Doing your homework

Establishing your key message

  • Identifying your key message and shaping your approach/argument
  • Creating a memorable sound-bite
  • Prepare your key message and 3 sound-bites on a given subject

Dealing with questions

  • Managing the interviewer’s expectations
  • Learning how to think on your feet and stay calm under pressure
  • Learning how to avoid journalist "traps" or "trick" questions
  • Dealing with difficult questions - and how to keep “on message”

Interview preparation and practice

  • Individual interview: applying techniques developed
  • Feedback from participants and instructor

This workshop is hands-on, giving participants the opportunity to practice, assess, and hone their media interview skills in mock interviews.