Three Tips for a Successful Media Performance

Personal Excellence | Published: Wed 13 September 2017

Performing in media can be a stressful experience, particularly for younger athletes who might be unfamiliar with the way in which media works.


We all want to put our best foot forward when it comes to appearing in public, but without existing knowledge, sometimes it can be confusing as to where to start.


This guide aims to provide you with three simple ideas that when implemented, put you in control of your media performance. Whilst there is no substitute for experience, rest assured there are easy steps you can take to be ready when it’s time for action.



Preparation on point! 

The first step to avoiding the nerves and stress of a media interview is to appropriately prepare.


Preparation doesn’t need to be arduous. Think about WHO you are speaking to, WHAT the subject matter is and WHY they want to hear from you? When you combine these questions together, you can calibrate your thoughts and put yourself in a clear position to confidently control your response.


To elaborate further, as athletes, you can generally get a good sense for what the story is going to cover by thinking about why you’re newsworthy. If you’ve just been selected for your first national team and a reporter comes calling, it’s fairly logical that they’ll be interested in covering that angle. Similarly, if you’re interviewed after running a new personal best or after scoring the winning goal in a match, it won’t take wild guess to predict what questions you’ll be faced with.


Understanding the different approach of different media outlets is another guaranteed way to boost your preparation. A local paper will always focus on local issues, whereas a commercial radio station will centre on personality and profile. If your National Sporting Organisation seek to boost your profile, it will be with the sport’s interests attached. The questions will always mirror the purpose. By understanding this, you can predict that a local newspaper will ask about your first club, you can predict that commercial radio will ask personality driven questions and you can predict that your NSO will focus on your sport and pathway.


By taking a prepared approach, you’ll be ready for questions and have insightful responses set to go.


  • Don’t forget you can always ask! If you’re approached for a media interview, feel free to quiz them on what the topics are and when and where the story will run.



Tamsin Cook nails a media promo with Ch7 

We’re all familiar with the concept of first impressions. With media it’s no different. Dress appropriately for the occasion.


Neat and tidy appearance should be a given, but it also pays to consider what format of media you’re preparing for. If you’re invited for a photoshoot or a television story, you can be confident that they’ll want to showcase you in your sport specific training/competition gear. Most media professionals will advise on necessary items for you to bring ahead of a photo shoot/press opportunity, but it always pays to think for yourself. After all, a reporter mightn’t know what equipment you use, and a photographer may have no idea how you put it into practical use.


Common sense is the key. If you’re representing WAIS, have your WAIS gear ready. If you’re promoting your national team, have your national kit prepared. When in doubt, ask!


Presentation still applies to print and radio formats. How you respond to a question will in turn reflect upon you, once it’s gone to print or hits the airwaves. Avoid jargon and acronyms that readers/listeners mightn’t understand and be sure to speak calmly and clearly so that you can be easily understood.


Body language is vital. Show interest! Make eye contact, present authority in your delivery. If you’re slumped in a chair and give an impression of disinterest, what opinion is the reporter likely to form? And they’re the ones telling your story!


  • Remember that all of this is in your control. You hold a great deal more influence over your media performance than you might think.



When speaking to The West for a feature, Brad Ness spent time explaining his sport, his background and his work outside of sport to ensure the reporter had all the important details 

It’s okay to enjoy media interviews. Chat with reporters and staff beforehand and build rapport by asking them questions about what they’ve been up to, or find out what they know about your sport. If you can give them info that they didn’t already know, you’re making their job easier and establishing trust and professionalism. Smile, laugh and act like the fabulous person you are! It always shines through in the finished product.


There’s nothing more painful than listening to a robotic interview with stereotyped or clichéd answers (think politicians!). If you’re fun to speak with and give great responses, you can guarantee that journalists, sponsors, fans and audiences will be far more likely to warm to your message or cause!


  • The second the questioner finishes asking the question – the baton of control is firmly placed in your hands. Drive your communication goals and be the person that you want the audience to know.


Next time you’re involved with a media interview or appearance, start with the three pillars for media success: Preparation, Presentation and Personality.


  • WAIS Corporate Communications