Peter Saunders

How to make good use of media interviews

Peter Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK, summarises the key aspects of making good use of opportunities to give interviews in the mainstream media. Peter has very extensive experience of being interviewed in the UK, speaking regularly on national news programmes about ethical issues, especially those concerning the beginning and end of life. This video was recorded at the European Leadership Forum, May 2017, and is republished from the Forum of Christian Leaders.


Transcript

When we think about how we can effectively utilize video interviews, we’ve first got to see them as a great opportunity to be able to speak to thousands – perhaps millions – of people who we might not otherwise have any connection with.

But we need to understand the kind of context that we’re going into. Is it going to be television or radio? Is the opportunity going to be live or recorded? Is it going to be just us on a one-to-one with the interviewer or we’re going to be up against an opponent – and if so, who are they and where they coming from? So these questions all feed into the way that one prepares and the amount that you can actually say. And then in preparing for the interview you need first of all to decide is this subject for me? Am I an expert enough on this or should I be deferring to someone else?

You need to prepare: Decide what your message is going to be and then be able to express it in words that are going to communicate to the audience who are listening to it. And there might be different audiences. And then you need to get your message out, so don’t let yourself be cornered or forced into answering questions that you’re not happy to answer. Whatever they ask you, turn the question around and get your main message out and make sure you get your points across and just keep talking until you are interrupted.

So these things are all learned skills. It’s frightening at first but it becomes much, much easier the more that you do.