The Building Blocks of a Great Media Appearance

by Diane Streleckis - You’ve nabbed that coveted media spot for your company representative or even yourself. What can you do to make the most of the opportunity—and not go viral for all the wrong reasons?

Screenshot_2023-09-29_at_1.12.59_PM.png“Preparation and messaging are the foundational blocks for delivering in a media interview,” said Beth Noymer Levine, founder and Principal of SmartMouth Communications. Levine, who will share more on how to be ready for media opportunities during IABC’s October 3 session Media Readiness for Comms Pros, offered a few ideas ahead of the event.

Prepare Your Message and Your Mindset

Whether working with top executives or top athletes, Levine advises them to follow a core communications principle: Know what message you want to get across before you start communicating.

“The message has to come first,” she stressed.

Then it’s about preparing your mindset. “People’s preparation is usually wrong,” said Levine. “There’s a lot of forced memorization, a lot of guessing what a reporter will ask.” That kind of preparation can create problems when a reporter goes in a different direction than expected.”

Find out how to get in the right mindset to have a great media appearance, plus more tips from Beth Noymer Levine, SmartMouth Communications founder and media coach to top athletes and professionals. Join IABC Philadelphia’s virtual event on October 3, 2023, noon-1:00 p.m. ET.

Sign up for Media Readiness for Comms Pros

Watch Your Words, Especially on Social

Even if you never get in front of a video camera or are interviewed by a reporter, if you’re posting on social platforms, you’re speaking in the media. And those quotes can take on a long life of their own.

“You want to use words and phrases that you’re really proud of, that you think have lasting value, that you believe are flattering to you,” Levine said.

She noted that many of the elite athletes she works with frequently post about themselves. “I’m always reminding them that their posts could last forever,” she said.

But you don’t have to be an elite athlete to be subject to the risks that come with social media. “One slip of the tongue (or text) and you could be a meme or cancelled,” she cautioned. “Everybody knows at least one nightmare story and they don’t want that nightmare to be them.”

Use Data Sparingly

“A reporter doesn’t usually need to know all your data. The media are going to take just a smidgen of a percent of what you say,” said Levine. “They’re listening for that one key quote that’s going to get someone to listen or click.”

She recommended homing in on just a few key stats. “It’s about prioritizing and picking pieces of data that are good supporting evidence for your message,” she said.

Remember the Audience Often Doesn’t Know What You Know

You likely know a subject matter expert or two who loves using jargon or industry-specific analogies.

“Executives and experts can be so immersed in their business that they don’t know what people don’t know,” Levine said. “Media training helps us take those things that we know and make them accessible for the people we’re trying to get them across to.”

Don’t miss more practical insights on making the best impression in media from SmartMouth Communications founder Beth Noymer Levine at IABC Philadelphia’s virtual event on October 3, 2023, noon-1 pm ET.

Sign up for Media Readiness for Comms Pros


Diane Streleckis is a writer and content strategist dedicated to using the power of words for good. Understanding what makes people tick and then sharing practical ideas to help support their needs and concerns is Diane’s mission. She’s applied this mission mindset across industries for more than 30 years.