Growth Insights for CEOs

5 Super Tips for a CEO Faced with a Media Interview

Posted by The Chief Outsider


Guest Blog By Melissa Monson

Let's start by acknowledging that most executives don’t look forward to a media interview. Talking to a reporter or staring into the lens of a camera can be disconcerting and very intimidating. But, the opportunity to be in the news can do wonders for your visibility. Here are some tips to make the experience successful for your company, which is depending on you to represent them well and deliver a strong message!

Be Brief

Know the amount of time you've been given. Being long-winded only succeeds in losing your audience and always dilutes the message. Wrapping too many words around your points is distracting, less powerful and the opposite of concise.

Be Yourself

An audience wants to feel connected to you, so be transparent and real. Relax and try to warm up. Be helpful (and never defensive) to reporters and they’ll be more likely to call you again for your perspective on other issues.

Be Prepared

Memorize your key messages and practice sticking to them. The media lives for sound bites, so make sure yours are easily digestible and memorable.

Tell Stories

Know the interview topic ahead of time and then jot down four stories you can tell that relate to you or your company and the topic. Ronald Reagan was a master storyteller, and you can be too!

Anticipate and Identify Difficult Questions

You must answer questions without sounding defensive or nervous. It helps to write out your answers ahead of time. Practice turning negatives into positives. What is difficult for some people may not be for others.

Become a Keen Observer

Watch and listen carefully to politicians, for they are masters of the media interview. Marco Rubio, a relative newcomer to national politics, replied when asked how he puts up with media questions, “It’s just like football; you have to play the game.”  As CEO, watch and learn to play the game as it’s important for your company image.


Melissa Monson

As founder and president of MONSON Communications, Melissa Monson has a storied track 
record helping those in the global business community—from startups and individual 
executives to private companies and corporations—meet both the strategic and tactical 
challenges of developing and presenting strong and persuasive communications.  She writes
regularly about communication issues on her blog at

Mobile: 415-297-8100

Topics: CEO Strategies, Public Relations Strategy