The Relevant: Lessons from Leonardo DiCaprio on handling broadcast PR interviews

Short and sweet

Most broadcast interviews are short. Often, you may only get to deliver no more than a few sentences. As a rule, treat every sentence as if it were your last. Make them a mix of fact, opinion and round it off so it sounds like the show could end with your quote.

Practice stating your points carefully avoiding ums and ahs. The biggest secret to minimise this is to simply pause and breathe, rather than to um and ah which diminishes credibility. Pausing allows the listener to take in the previous point, it creates space for the next and it’s a style employed by the most seasoned public speakers.

If you’re using a podcast or playback of the interview on your company’s website afterwards you want the finished product to sound polished and authoritative.

Delivery requires certainly

Often, listeners will judge you based on delivery as much as the content. Ensure you’ve researched every detail of the subject and pre-answer that uncomfortable question you know you are most likely to get asked. Leading broadcasters such as Andrew Marr (The Andrew Marr Show) or John Humphrys and his co-presenters (Today, BBC Radio 4) seldom allow interviewees to get off lightly.

Any good interviewer will ask that controversial question. Answer with certainty, clarity and without obfuscation – leave that to the politicians!

Ensure you repeat the theme of the interview or the question within your answer to demonstrate your commitment to providing insight if you’ve strayed off topic. So, back to the UK’s relationship with the EU…

Be extra early, and comfy

Logistics play a key role in successful broadcast interviews. There’s nothing more upsetting for a PR who’s worked tirelessly to secure a key interview to be told their client was caught in central London traffic and missed the slot.

Women (and many men I know) can take up to half an hour in makeup and hair. Arriving early will allow you to calm any nerves, manage the dry mouth and use the loo. Wear clothes you know fit, feel and look good.

When it comes to PR in the digital age, these are the top six things you need to know.

David Stoch is director of Meerkat PR which specialises national press PR campaigns for SMEs and professional services.

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