Interview Tips from Soledad O’Brien

By Posted in - Free Advice on October 21st, 2011

I had the pleasure of hearing Soledad O’Brien speak during the opening ceremony of the PRSA International Conference earlier this week in Orlando. In addition to sharing the thought we hear from many journalists about the importance of PR people doing their homework , she shared some advice to keep in mind when media training spokespeople. Soledad said to remember three things:

  1. Authenticity. Yes, as the PR people, it is natural for us to be focused on the message board and the desired outcome. Let’s also remember that our stories and our spokespeople must be sincere and genuine. I’ve seen in media training over the years how sincere but nervous spokespeople can revert to memorizing what seems to be a canned script which does not exude authenticity.
  2. Emotion. Every interesting story involves the display of emotion. Soledad also talked about the energy of an interviewee and how that connects to the emotion and the way the story is portrayed.
  3. Passion. Want to make Soledad (or anyone else) fall in love with your story? Communicate your passion. She said that of these three things, passion is the most important.

This is the first in a new series of posts called Free Advice Friday. If you  have a suggested topic or question you’d like to see addressed here, please leave your idea in the comments section. We also welcome comments on this post! Thank you!

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  • Josie - Reply

    October 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Great advice! Something interesting that I want to add to this — I learned in a recent HARO webinar that it’s OK to make a mistake when you’re pitching (or in this case, giving a speech.) Sometimes a little stutter here or a candid answer there will make you seem more human — more authentic!

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