We work with many executives and public figures who receive frequent requests for media interviews and quotes for stories, and there’s not a single person who doesn’t fear being misquoted. The slightest change in what you say can transform you from the insightful thought leader to an insensitive cad, but it’s easier than you’d think to put risk management procedures into place to prevent media interview misquotes.
While you can’t completely control what the media does following your interview, most media professionals are as anxious as you are to get it right. You can help when you and your public relations support team helps you:
- Take time to prepare for media interviews in advance. Media training and advanced preparation with your key points can help you stay on point and offer clarity to your communication.
- Think before you speak. By taking just a moment – a breath, a pause, a second to collect your thoughts – before responding to a question, you can be more concise and precise with your answers and less likely to be misquoted.
- Stick to the agenda. The closer you stick to the agreed-upon agenda, the better. Especially when speaking with the reporter by phone, have your talking points with you as a visual reminder of your message strategy.
- Repeat and confirm. Don’t shy away from having interviewers repeat back what you said to make sure they got it right, understood what you said, and have captured your quote accurately in their notes. You are your own best defense at ensuring you’re properly quoted, so don’t be afraid to make sure the reporters you’re working with have the facts straight.
- Never answer a question to which you don’t really know the answer. You’ll end up stumbling through it, possibly rambling, and creating more risk for being misquoted.
- Request the opportunity to review articles before they are published. While this takes an additional step and is often not possible with top-tier publications like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, having the ability to correct information before it’s been printed can be helpful.
Don’t let your fear of being misquoted keep you from participating in interviews. Media interviews are important for corporate executives, public figures, and most professionals, providing opportunities for added visibility. Being adequately prepared for your media exposure is essential to the process and can help minimize the risk of being misquoted.
Franchetti Communications delivers accelerated results by designing power-packed media interview and presentation training sessions around your unique goals, in person and via teleconference. Franchetti Communications works with corporations and business leaders to develop communication strategy, messaging, and PR strategy. Follow Franchetti Communications on LinkedIn, and be sure to download our special report: 6 Ways to Guarantee Your Message Cuts Through the Clutter.