When it comes to media interviews, many spokespeople are worried about what they can and can’t say.

It’s a very valid concern, no one wants to have their mistakes seen by millions of people. What they do want is to engage positively with the media and get their messages out to their target audiences. Taking control of the media interview is easier when you understand how a journalist thinks, what they want from the interview and what makes a good story.

Our top tip for media interviews is to prepare well. This includes, media interview training of course, but also being able to think like a journalist.

Know what makes a good news story. Journalists are busy people, so if you already know why your story is interesting, what it will mean to your audience and have some examples and case studies that you can use to illustrate your points, it will make their job so much easier. They are also less likely to ask the more challenging questions.

Plan for the awkward questions. Try and anticipate the types of questions a sceptical journalist may ask and have your answers ready. We aren’t saying to drag your skeletons out of the closet for inspection, just know what you would say if they were found.

Recognise that you are the expert. There is a reason that you are having a media interview. It’s because you are the one with the knowledge. Journalists are polymaths, they know a little bit about a lot of things, but the indepth understanding that you have about your subject is unique to you.

Stick to your messages. It’s easy to lose your audience by giving too much information, and going off the point. Remember why you are there, keep to your story, and keep on message.