Donovan Group Insights

Tone, Delivery Matter to the Media

Once an interview begins, it’s easy to become hyper focused on what you want to say. While it’s important to get your message across, you must also consider how you’re going to deliver it. Speaking in a cool and composed fashion can earn the public’s respect and make for a positive news story.

Here are a few quick tips to help you nail the next media interview.

Keep your emotions under control

Media interviews often address sensitive topics. The reporter might ask questions that provoke a strong emotional response. In some cases, the reporter might purposefully try to get a reaction out of you, especially if they’re going for a negative angle on the news story.

Always keep your emotions in check during a media interview. You are representing the school district, and how you respond to questions can influence the public’s perception of your schools. Maintain a calm, level-headed tone of voice no matter what the reporter throws at you.

Speak slowly and at your normal volume

People tend to talk faster when they’re nervous. Most of the time, this happens without the person realizing it. It often requires a conscious effort to speak slowly during media interviews. You may feel as though you’re speaking at a sloth’s pace, but to the listeners, it’ll sound like you’re speaking at exactly the right speed.

Remember to speak at your normal volume, especially if you’re participating in a radio interview. The reporter at the other end of the line usually sounds like they’re speaking from far away. This is perfectly normal for taped calls. You’ll be tempted to raise your voice so they can hear you. However, this will only make you sound frantic. Speak how you normally do—the reporter can hear you just fine.

Imagine you’re speaking to a loved one

Speaking on TV or the radio might not come naturally to you. It can feel awkward being recorded, and this discomfort is often reflected in your tone of voice. One thing you can do to relax is imagine you’re speaking to a partner, good friend or family member. This can help your personality shine through, which in turn makes it easier to connect with the audience.

The public doesn’t just listen to the words you say. If anything, they pay the most attention to your delivery and tone of voice. As cliché as it sounds, radio and television interviews are less about what you say and more about how you say it. Keep your emotions in check, speak calmly and, most importantly, be yourself.

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