How To Handle Tricky Questions From Journalists

3 min read · 7 years ago


Ever been stung by a journalist or fear that you could find yourself in the media spotlight and mess it up? Worried how to handle those tricky questions from journalists that you dread?

If you’ve had a bad experience then the fear of it happening again can hold you back. That’s a shame because connecting and engaging with journalists can build your credibility and extend your reach to many more potential contacts, collaborators and customers.

It’s tricky for smaller businesses

Media training is worth its weight in gold but traditionally it’s been expensive and out of reach to smaller businesses. It can be hard to justify before you have a mass of journalists beating at your door. And, by then it’s not exactly too late but you could really get yourself into a pickle or two if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So, if you can’t dish out the £800 plus for a media training session then what can you do? There are many aspects to crack to be highly effective in a media interview and practice does make perfect. But, there are also some techniques you can have at your fingertips to help give you the confidence you need to speak to journalists effectively.

How to handle tricky questions from journalists

One such tool is called ‘bridging’ and it helps you in handling tricky questions from journalists. It’s a technique used by MPs although they tend to use it and abuse it and listening to their interviews can be highly frustrating. If you’re anything like me you just want to bash your head against the floor when you hear them blatantly ignoring the question.

But you can take the principle and apply it to your own situation in a more subtle way. ‘Bridging’ is simply a way to address the question you’re asked and then bring the interview back to your agenda and the points you want to get across.

‘Bridging’ phrases include:

  • The important thing to remember is…
  • As I said earlier…
  • Coming back to my earlier point…
  • The key issue here is…

The idea is that you reference the question, you don’t completely ignore it, and then use a ‘bridging’ phrase to get the interview back onto the points you want to make. Your aim is to stay in control of the interview and to get your points across in a clear and concise way and to make them as memorable as possible too.

Stay in control

So, use ‘bridging’ to stay in control. It’s just one technique that will help to give you confidence about handling tricky questions from journalists. There are many other aspects, of course, you need to consider and preparation is key. Think about all the possible questions you could get asked, the tricky questions that you would least like to get asked and also the points you want to get across. That’s a good starting place.

Here’s a free media interview planner to help get you started on preparing for a media interview.

In a nutshell: Always be prepared for tricky questions from journalists and arm yourself with techniques such as ‘bridging’ to help stay in control.

What’s been your experience of doing media interviews?

Accessible media training via Skype – at your fingertips

If you want face-to-face media training with someone who is top of their game then a half day or full day of training will be very expensive. The good news is that there is now another option. I’ve teamed up with Sara Jones an ex BBC journalist and experienced media trainer to offer ‘bite sized’ media training for small business owners and entrepreneurs via Skype.

It means you get the quality input and insight from an expert but at a fraction of the cost because of the virtual set up.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Handle Tricky Questions From Journalists

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