Six Ways to Impress the Press



As a seasoned journalist and now the owner of a fast-growing PR consultancy, I’ve interviewed hundreds of CEOs, politicians, business leaders and entrepreneurs. And I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to responses to interview questions. Here are the six tips I always offer during media training sessions to help make a lasting impression during a business media interview.


1. Speak in a way that people take notice


If you want to get across your brand, business or personal message across with impact, use your tone, words and body language to deliver your message in a way that truly resonates. So slow your pace, pause in the right places, and speak clearly, concisely and with conviction. 


2. Show genuine passion for what you do


Lack of energy and a mediocre tone of voice, avoiding eye contact or worse, pacing around, all show signs you aren’t bothered about what you do, or what you have to say. So get the energy up and show how passionate you are about your business, the interviewer will immediately see you’re genuine, and truly believe in what you do.


3. Know some facts, but don’t be a know it all


Prepare some fact, stats and interesting figures in advance that are worth mentioning to the press. These could be findings from your recent white paper, surveys or customer success stories. But don’t fudge numbers or be vague if you really don’t know your facts. Admit you have some great resources to share, but don’t have the exact numbers on you, and that you/your PR will share with the journalist immediately after the interview.


4. Ask for the questions in advance, but don’t micro-manage.


There’s nothing wrong with asking for the questions in advance. It will help you be more prepared, and make the interview run more seamlessly. However asking the press to fact-check, approve and sign-off the entire article before it is published is a complete turn off for any journalist, shows lack of trust, and worse, can disrupt the timing of a hot news topic.



5. Keep it sharp and relevant


Keep your answers concise and relevant and avoid rambling. Always remember journalists love the ‘golden quotes’ that make an impact and stand out in the copy. Analogies are great, but don’t go too off on a tangent.


6. It’s OK to say no


If you’re genuinely uncomfortable with a question, it’s OK to say no. Reasonable reasons to decline include that you’re not in a position yet to comment on a point, the news is yet to be released, you’ll need approval from a particular client or customer to divulge certain information, or the question is simply not relevant to your particular role. 



Want to impress the press with techniques from a leading business journalist?

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About the  Author: Azadeh Williams is a former lawyer, global business journalist and lecturer, who founded B2B content marketing and PR firm, AZK Media. Leading technology, SaaS, martech and adtech companies choose AZK Media for the company’s intelligent capability to define, refine and amplify business messaging through an integrated approach to content and media. Find out more at

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October 19, 2019

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