How to Prepare Tech Executives for Interviews: 4 Media Training Tips

Amanda Lee
February 29, 2024

Given the fast-paced nature of the tech news cycle, especially during tradeshow season, it's crucial to capitalize on the chance for valuable press exposure by arranging interviews that showcase insights from your organization's executives and industry experts. But securing the opportunity is only the beginning. Once that opportunity is confirmed, PR pros can help you with the extensive preparation, media training and research required to nail that interview and create positive coverage for your company.  

So, how do you ensure your executive is prepared to provide insights that help them stand out amid the unrelenting din of the 24/7 news cycle? If you’re looking for tips that will maximize the outcome of each meeting with reporters, check out these insights from Allison Carter with PR Daily. These insights provide comprehensive advice for interviewing like a pro. We’ve also added a few of our own tips and insights below gleaned from years of experience helping executives maximize their interview opportunities.  

  1. Do Your Research: News coverage is a two-way street. If you expect the reporter to educate themselves on your company, you should also research that reporter’s beat, topics of interest and professional history. You can learn all this information through a simple search via Google or LinkedIn, and you might even learn a few fun facts about the reporter that can make the conversation more personable. Beyond their beat, do they have any hobbies or similar information listed in their bios? Sometimes the little things can make a big difference in forming a relationship with a journalist that leads to future opportunities. If your PR agency secures an opportunity, they should provide a comprehensive backgrounder with information on the reporter, their coverage areas, previous stories and other relevant information.  
  1. Anticipate Questions the Reporter Might Ask: As with anything else in our professional or personal lives, preparation is crucial. Aside from helping the conversation flow naturally, this will keep the meeting on track and cut down on small talk (although a little is okay!). Once the meeting has been confirmed, begin planning your discussion topics. Additionally, don’t hesitate to open the line of communication by touching base with the relevant analysts prior to the meeting. They might be willing to share their questions or discussion topics, providing you with the ultimate guidance for a successful interview or briefing.
  1. Remember, It’s a Conversation: At the end of the day, an interview is simply a conversation. While you should be prepared to maximize the opportunity, you don’t need to be robotic. This can be a delicate balance, which is why media training is important for helping executives rehearse their responses conversationally while bridging back to your company’s messaging. It’s okay to elaborate on certain topics but executives should do their best to circle back to the key points your company wants to communicate to peers and customers. And if your executive is unsure of something, they should just say so. It’s better to admit you don’t know something and you’ll get back to the reporter than to respond to questions with uncertain or unsubstantiated answers.
  1. Pick a Good Time to Interview: This sounds obvious, but we also know that executives have multiple responsibilities and are crunched for time. Ensure that the chosen time works and that your executive is in a place where it’s quiet, meaning they won’t be driving, or at the gym, or rushing to another meeting. If the reporter feels their time has been disrespected, they’re unlikely to provide you with another opportunity. Even worse, many reporters talk to each other, even if they don’t work at the same outlet. Developing a bad reputation with various press outlets is the last thing you want your thought leader to do. As a result, select a time of day where your executive can be in a quiet room and fully present in the conversation, then repeatedly confirm this time and date and remind the executive in the days leading up to the interview.  

Media briefings are essential for building relationships with the outlets and experts that are vital to your company’s public relations and communications strategy. By implementing these tips, you can ensure your company’s thought leaders are telling your company’s story to target audiences and ultimately influencing buyers. Remember, if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Now get out there and knock that press interview out of the park!  


Read More