Media Interview: What You Say

Interview Tips from Marilynn T. Mobley

Marilynn T. Mobley, a personal friend who was a noted authority on public relations and media interviews, believed you could guide reporters rather than just follow along when they interviewed you. I do, too.

The three essential techniques that Mobley recommended are repetition, flagging, and bridging.

Repetition: “If it’s really a key message, don’t be shy about saying it several times,” Mobley advised: “Repetition equals retention.”

Flagging: “Flag” your key messages to keep the reporter focused on what you want to emphasize. Here are some phrases that you can use:

The most important thing to remember is…” “I’ve talked about a lot of things, but it boils down to three things….” (I particularly like this phrase because it performs two tasks, it flags and it pre-numbers, which gives you a chance to make all three points.)

Bridging: A “bridge” is a rhetorical technique that enables you to move from the question you are asked to a point that you want to make. Here are some useful bridge phrases: “Let me give some background information about…” “Let me just add…” “That’s not my area of expertise, but what I can tell you is…” “Actually…

What makes these concepts so useful is that they need not be restricted to media interviews. All of them work in conversations, in presentations, and in political arguments and discussions.

Excerpt from “The Scoop on Media Interviews” by Marilynn T. Mobley. Mobley former senior vice president and strategic counsel for Edelman.


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