With so many media outlets today, everyone runs the risk of being interviewed...

It could be about the multinational you run, the charity you work so hard for, the law you want to get through parliament, or the woodland you want to preserve. For most people, that interview is a scary prospect. Tine van Houts gives media training.

An opportunity, not a threat

On the other hand, you could look at it differently: Everybody has the opportunity to be interviewed today. It's not a threat, but a great chance to tell the world about your company, your ideas and what you believe in.

Unless you have 100,000 twitter followers, the media interview is still the most effective, free way to get your message across. So, knowing how to do that is an important skill to have. If you are well trained and fully prepared, it won't need to be an ordeal: it can be an exhilarating experience. Even fun.

Journalists nowadays don't just want to interview the people at the top: they also want to talk to the people who are actually building the houses, nursing the patients or working on the oil rigs.

Learn and build confidence

Since leaving full-time journalism to concentrate on media training, I've worked with many hundreds of people, from CEOs and top politicians, to charity workers and artists, all over Europe. To start with, some were so nervous they couldn't even face the camera. But by the end of the day they left with confidence, having seen on the screen, how much they had improved. When I'm watching the TV news in the evening, it's always great to suddenly see one of my clients appear, telling a good story clearly and confidently, with huge enthusiasm.

Everybody gets nervous before an interview. It once surprised me to see a famous broadcaster's hands tremble before he started chairing a live studio discussion – and he had over 40 years' experience on the screen! But once the camera started rolling, he came across as totally confident, articulate and charming. You see, it's a skill. With good training, you can get there too.

Top 10 tips on media training:

  1. Prepare: get all your facts, figures and anecdotes ready
  2. Rehearse the interview with a friend or colleague
  3. Never lie
  4. Be enthusiastic
  5. Keep it short
  6. Avoid jargon
  7. Stay friendly
  8. Put yourself in the shoes of the journalist
  9. Find out who your real audience is
  10. Never say, "No Comment."