Media Training

What is everybody’s greatest fear when being interviewed? Dealing with unwanted questions. You can’t control what the journalist says, you can only control what you say. You need to anticipate difficult questions, practise addressing them, and develop techniques to allow you to say what you want to say. Marlène Schiappa, responding on France Inter to Nicolas Demorand’s question « Je sens que vous êtes gené ? » replied « Non, je ne suis pas particulièrement gênée, qu’est-ce que vous fait dire ça ? », and it was the only thing I remembered from the whole interview. A better response might have been « I’m perfectly comfortable with the decisions taken by the Prime Minister ».

Christine Lagarde understands this technique. Effectively being harassed by an AFP journalist, she replies « I’m going to work ». She controls the only thing she can control in the situation. She controls what she says. She is also excellent in interviews. Her interview for Fortune Magazine in 2013 is a great example of a French person communicating well in English:

You need to determine your message, and stick to it, by identifying your three key points, and always bringing your answers back to these three points.

These three points need to be of interest to the journalist, and of interest to your audience. Journalists will certainly ask you questions that are of interest to them and the audience, it’s their job. And it’s your job to be able to answer them.

There is no such thing as an « off » to a journalist. Never say anything you wouldn’t want to be quoted on.

You might already be very good at this in French.

You need to prepare and practise to improve in English.