Advice for guest of TV3s new show, "The Project"

15 March 2017

Spokespeople with the skills to master media interviews will know they should have message points ready to focus on (while also answering questions). They should also dress up these points in ways that make them interesting to the audience of the reporter or presenter.

The ability to maintain this focus is more difficult on The Project because the show has a mix of both news and humour. It can be difficult to maintain your focus when one question has a serious tone, then the next one is hilarious and totally out of left field.

I’ve seen a few spokespeople stay totally on message until a comical question takes them off topic and into a completely new area.  This is difficult because it can be difficult to return to your own message when this happens. But you must do this if you want the audience to understand and remember your message rather than the funny reply you gave to one of the irrelevant questions. People remember very little from interviews, so you want that to be your points.

The key is to play along, but remain focused. By all means show your lighter side. This can be a great thing to do. The last thing you want is to be perceived as dry and serious. But also remember why you are there and get back to your key points.

Political leaders need to do this all the time on radio. Not all their interviews are on news stations like Radio NZ. They are also guests on music stations and even radio sport. They must maintain their focus while also fitting into the style of the show. Some do this very well.

The Project is no different, but is a relatively new experience for many of the guests.

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Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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