3 common blunders top executives commit in media interviews

To paraphrase the old E.F. Hutton ad, when your CEO speaks, people listen. That’s why you must ensure what the head honcho offers is platinum—and not fools’ gold.

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Although every executive is different, we’ve observed clear trend lines in our work with hundreds of top-tier executives since we started Phillips Media Relations in 2004. In this post, I’ll share three of the mistakes we commonly see executives make—and offer advice to help prevent them.

1. They’re too focused on internal structure.

In our media training sessions, I usually lead off practice interviews with a seemingly simple question: Can you tell me about your company? Roughly 95 percent of the time, the executive gives me an answer rooted in their company’s structure:

“We are an association based in Washington, D.C., that represents more than 50,000 small-business owners in the United States who are trying to expand trade into foreign markets.”

That’s not a bad answer, because it communicates real information, but it does little to break through the clutter of the thousands of messages we all see each day. An answer that focuses on the why instead of the what attracts the audience’s attention more effectively:

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