What’s the best technique for breezing through a media interview? Bridging!
You’ve prepared and done your homework. You’re a natural in front of the camera and a designated spokesperson, and you know your subject inside and out.
All of which begs the question: Why should you worry and sweat when a member of the media shoves a microphone under your chin and starts pelting you with questions?
The interview is moving along smoothly. You’re feeling confident and you’re articulate. You’re using all of the right buzzwords and your colleagues are watching your interview on TV and congratulating your shining moment from afar.
Then wham-bam-boom. The interviewer suddenly poses a question that you want to really, really want to avoid answering. Anything but that question, your brain mutters.
In reality, this scenario happens quite a bit, and it’s all too easy to falter when an interviewer lobs a question your way that you want to evade. What to do?
It’s called bridging—and it works.
Rather than answering the question that you’re desperate to avoid, you strategically pivot the interview to drive home your message.
In essence, you need a “bridge” to pull the conversation back to the main points that you want to convey. It’s imperative that you stay on track, remain poised and continue to deliver your key points to your captive audience—despite the question.
By staying on topic, it allows you to control the conversation and stick to your agenda.
The key to bridging successfully is always having a pipeline of phrases and words stored away in your head that ensures that you can pivot away from the ick-question and steer the interview back to the points that you want to amplify.
If you need time to think, give yourself a few seconds by initially responding with “That’s a great question—one that I think about often,” and then provide a “bridge” statement that can start with “What’s important to remember…” or “Let’s not forget…” both of which are transitions that allow you to tailor your answer with compelling information that effectively articulates your main points and speaks to your audience. Just remember that everything is on the record and it’s crucial to tell the truth.
A media interview is an important opportunity to speak directly to your audience, but don’t let the interviewer drive the conversation.
Put simply, the bridging technique allows the interviewee to move the conversation on from a negative or unhelpful question posed by the interviewer.
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