Nowadays, media can contact you at any time using all sorts of methods. Therefore, to handle any media interactions, preparation is key. In addition, building a good relationship with the media and developing a strong reputation can lead to new professional and financial opportunities. Before being in touch with the media consider the following:
- Think of how you want to be perceived
What you say and how you say it reflect directly on you – it affects how your fans, your team, your sponsors, and the media perceive you. Remember that everything you say (and do) communicates a message. If you want to reflect a positive image, keep that at the front of your mind when responding to media.
- Know your audience
Knowing your audience is key to developing the right messages – you will speak to children in a much different way and about different things than you will when speaking to dignitaries or other elite athletes.
- Be yourself
It may sound simple but being yourself will put you at ease. You will convey yourself more accurately and represent your team more genuinely.
- Gather your thoughts
You won’t always feel like speaking with the press, and sometimes you will have to even though you don’t want to. Even if you are not in the mood, try to be honest without being negative; it is ok to be disappointed but keeping your emotions in check will help prevent you saying something you might regret later.
- Ask for advice
Take advantage of the experiences your teammates and other veteran athletes and coaches have had with the media. Ask them how they approach the media and what strategies they have used in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
- Media training
Depending on your level of play and resources available to your team, you may want to consider formal media training. Media trainers are experts in how the media operate and can provide useful tips and techniques, especially if you are at a level where media scrutiny is intense.