I’ve been media training executives for about 15 years. Although the channels have changed, there’s still one constant. The media has an agenda. This statement shapes what most business professionals have in their minds about the slant or the bias of a media outlet. They also realize the importance of doing due diligence prior to a media interview and reviewing a journalist’s background.
However, in the spirit of FEEL First (facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, using Ethics and unleashing the Love to build genuine relationships), let’s take this discussion a few steps further. I’m going to show you how to take AGENDA to a whole new level … comparing your own AGENDA to the AGENDA of the media professional, blogger, podcaster, show host, who interviews you.
Let’s break down the acronym AGENDA, so you can really prepare and have all of your key points, stories, stats and sound bites ready and be mindful and present during your media interviews:
For this acronym, you have to identify your AGENDA as well as your interviewer’s:
AGENDA stands for:
What is your “Attitude” vs. the attitude of your interviewer? Social media conversations and past articles, blogs, comments, tweets, etc., will help you to figure this out. When attitudes differ it’s important to check your ego at the door, listen carefully, and be open to different perspectives. Also, be aware of the non-verbal cues including body movements and facial expressions that quickly uncover an attitude toward a topic.
What is “General Bias” or slant? What is your view vs. theirs and how can you be objective and ready for a conversation that will have various opinions, and, quite possibly, be wrapped in personal feelings?
What kind of “Education” is needed around the topic? If you are an expert, does your interviewer have the same level of knowledge and what about their audience. Nailing down the education part means coming across clear and in a way that people will understand you.
What’s the current “Narrative” on the topic? What have you been sharing vs. your media host and their audience? What topics in the news relate directly to your topic? They can, and, usually will, end up as a part of the conversation? So be ready!
What does “Data” tell you about your topic? Do you have your stats ready to share? Do your stats match the stats that the media outlet has offered and are they credible sources? For example, political polls and sources vary depending on the media outlet. Fox News shares one set of poll numbers and CNN will share another. Your accuracy matters.
Lastly, how does your story “Affect” your work or your life, and that of your interviewer and the people interested in your story? If you uncover how people FEEL, then you will enter the conversation with a higher level of emotional intelligence and an opportunity to make deeper connections.
Showing up prepared and being more present or aware of the AGENDA, will not only lead to a better discussion, but chances are you’ll also be asked to come back for more interviews.
Building a genuine relationship means becoming a trusted go-to source. You’re moving from pitching the media to being a regular authority or subject matter expert available for commentary.
Do you know the AGENDA before your media interviews?
If you’re interested in learning more about how to FEEL first and knowing the AGENDA before your interviews, here’s a video about a workshop on speaking and media interviews that may help you.