If your mind goes blank during a media interview - don't panic.
If you’re unfamiliar with the process of getting media coverage, it can be nerve-wracking when you’re facing an interview with a journalist or TV presenter. Your goal is to shine and share your expertise with the world, but what if you go blank during the interview? If this happens to you and you’re left looking like a deer in headlights, don’t panic – here are some tips on how to recover quickly and gracefully from those terrifying moments when your mind goes blank during a media interview.
Some days you just won’t have any great quotes or witty anecdotes to share with a journalist—and that’s OK! But it does mean you need to come prepared with some general talking points, stories, and ideas. Think of these as talking points you can fall back on in case your mind goes blank in an interview. Whether I’m being interviewed by a TV station or writing a feature for a magazine, I always have my elevator pitch, my one-sentence description of my business to share with interested journalists when they ask for more information about me and my work.
It's common to go blank in front of a journalist or an interviewer. You know what you want to say, but for some reason it just won't come out of your mouth. Don't Panic! The important thing is to take a breath, buy yourself some time and be honest, even if you can’t answer straight away. Say things like “that’s a great question, I'll have to check that”, or “I'll get back to you on that.” It gives you time to think about what you should say next while not appearing flustered in front of your audience or client/customer!
The reason why you are being asked to be interviewed is because they want to hear what you have to say, so don’t let fear of not knowing what to say make you freeze or ramble on about things that really aren’t relevant or interesting. So if you don’t understand what the question was, ask the reporter to repeat the question or to clarify the question, this will buy you some time to think but will also give you a better idea of what the journalist is really asking.
Fall back on your experience
If you freeze during an interview and don’t know what to say next, take a moment to think about other conversations you have had recently or things that have been happening in your industry. Consider bridging to that topic and using those points to continue the conversation in a direction where you are more familiar and comfortable.
Here is to growing your name and brand for years to come.