We see a lot of interviews, as consumers of the media, by working in the industry and because we represent companies - speaking for them, or supporting them.  

An interview is one of the most powerful PR tools available to us.

If done correctly interviews can build brands, educate the target audience and lend credibility. If it’s not carried out successfully it can bring a shudder to those involved and will likely want to be forgotten about as soon as possible.  Of course in today’s media scene that is going to be hard.

So what is the one most important thing to achieve in an interview?  Quite simply - to get your message across.  Sounds easy and if messages and sound bites are practiced, it can be.  But wait, what if the interviewer isn’t going to pitch up the questions that allow you to stay on topic?  As any good PR pro will tell you, the interviewee needs to master the art of bridging.

Bridging used to be a more advanced technique taught to the experienced interviewer, but due to the changing media landscape, we’ve recently changed our stance of this and require all our spokes people to understand, practice and gain experience in bridging.

Bridging is a simple technique that allow you to effectively transition a questions to deliver your key message, while moving away from sensitive or other questions you don’t want to answer.

It entails listening to the interviewer, acknowledging the question and then before answering the question, ‘bridging’ to an on target topic.  The words or phrase used to bridge are easily learnt, and if used interchangeably, will come across as fluid:

  • I’m very glad you asked me that…
  • That’s a very important question, but even more important is…
  • Before I answer that question I think I should say that…
  • That’s a very good question I think I should say that…
  • That’s a very good question, and I will answer it in a minute, but before I do…
  • I think what you meant by that question is…
  • I don’t have the exact details, but what I can say is…
  • You might say that, but… 

A new practitioner will often think that bridging will come across as staged. If rehearsed before trying it for real it rarely will.

The one thing to beware of is using this technique too hard and coming across as a politician… but then again, it’s pretty easy to not act as a politician.

Happy Bridging.

Comment