Ridiculous skills speak for themselves. But what happens when the media want you to get loud about your game? Do you know how to dish it? Read on for news about managing interviews from John Heisler, senior associate athletic director, responsible for media relations, at the University of Notre Dame.
“Dealing with media is all about presentation skills,” Heisler says. From the clothes you wear to the attitude you bring, “you want to present yourself in a positive manner.”
To ensure that the interview is personal in nature, it’s important to understand who is interviewing you, where the interview will appear and who the potential audiences are. “I think that will give you the ability to judge how to handle yourself,” Heisler says. “Develop…and understand the points you are trying to get across.”
Regarding your athletic career and personal life, Heisler advises sharing only facts that you’re comfortable talking about, because “the more successful you are [as an athlete], the more probing those [media] questions may be.” He continues, “It’s important to know that you aren’t obligated to answer every single question. You can’t be expected to be an expert on every topic.”
If you are asked a question that would be better answered by your coach or someone else, Heisler recommends “bridging,” a technique used to segue into a subject you can address. “You may be asked to comment on something that really may not be appropriate for who you are and what your level of expertise [is],” he says. “But you can bridge to something you are comfortable talking about, and that’s yourself, how your season’s going and how the team is doing.”
Make sure to police what you release. If you spill too much information, including talking trash on your opponents, Heisler recommends recovering by setting the record straight and explaining what you really meant to say. “The next time you have an interview opportunity…say, ‘Even though this is what appeared in the paper or this is what was reported, it’s not what I really meant to say,’” he advises.
Heisler suggests preparing for the real deal with a mock interview, especially if you are uncomfortable being interviewed. Try dishing out solid responses to hard-to-answer questions in front of a mirror or to friends or a coach. “If you’re going to be interviewed, and you’re not quite sure how you’re going to do…get some of your friends to sit down and throw some questions at you as if they were interviewing you,” Heisler says. “It may not be perfect, but [it’s] a great way to at least give you some sense of some things that you might be asked.”