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Tips in Dealing with the Media- Part 5: Appearing Confident & Final Tips

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Intro (Part 1) | Part 2 | Part3 | Part4 | Part5 (Last)

*Note: This series is almost entirely based on a series of short videos (part of Wharton’s Communication class) by Amy Sharp, a media professional.*

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PDF Version of Entire Series can be found here (for printing & distribution):  Dealing with media.pdf

How you appear may count quite a bit into what people perceive about your believability or credibility. A controversial UCLA study found that what you actually say only counts for about 7% for overall credibility, but how you say it counts for nearly 40%! So, how you come across in the interview counts for nearly half your credibility. A good illustration is to consider the Nixon/Kennedy debate, which was aired on radio and TV. Those who heard it on the radio believed Nixon won, while those who saw it on TV believed that Kennedy won; same debate, different conclusions!

How to look confident

  • Position yourself to be engaged.
  • Make eye contact with proper people
    • If you are being interviewed one on one for TV, then the reporter/producer is usually off-camera. Make sure make eye contact with them. If you keep looking back at the camera, you will look shifty and unsure.
    • If you are in a remote location, like in a room giving a lecture/talk, then look at the audience by looking straight into the camera.
  • There is also a good likelihood that you will not be standing. If you are sitting:
  • Don’t sit straight up. Lean forward slightly. This indicates that you are more actively engaged.
    • Keep your hands loosely clasped in your lap or in front of you, so you can gesture easily.
    • Keep your gestures far away from your body. Usually a microphone is hooked on your body somewhere, so you don’t want to hit it
  • Attitude is everything! Roll with appropriate emotions. Be flexible. You don’t have to always smile or always frown. A cardinal mistake is to keep smiling when the topic is either not something to smile about or if you are being constantly attacked. Let your expressions flow with the mood and tempo of the interview.

Final Tips

Dealing with the media is a skill that you need to hone.

You have been asked to participate in interview because you have something to add. The more you do well, the more you are likely to be quoted and to be called in for future interviews

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Amad

    April 3, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    The presentation by Amy included clips of video– one was particularly funny.

    It has an interview where this woman was being literally insulted and completely demolished, and she kept smiling because someone probably coached her that that was the right thing to do.

    Smile but only when it is appropriate!

  2. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 3, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    Amad, solid series bro, I know some people at my alma mater could have used this advice a few years ago :)

    Siraaj

  3. ruth nasrullah

    April 3, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum. I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for a little over two years now and I highly recommend it to help with the skills needed to carry through the recommendations made here.

  4. Nadia

    April 3, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    Mashallah good advice. I have this annoying habit I am working on getting rid of, I notice I nod a lot when people are talking to me. I think I do it to acknowledge that I understand what they’re saying, but I think it will be more effective for me to just listen. Anyhow, good tips which can also carry over to everyday conversations as well.

  5. AnonyMouse

    April 3, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    I have an annoying tendency also, to nod/ keep saying, “Yep; yes; of course,” etc. But if I stay silent, then I’m afraid the other person will think I’m not paying attention!

  6. Amad

    April 3, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    I agree with Sr. Ruth… I haven’t done the Toastmasters thing… I think giving khutbas forced me to figure it out on my own… but everyone who has done Toastmasters raves about it. It is also free (right Sr. Ruth?) so there is nothing to lose (except your nervousness of course)!

  7. Alima

    May 1, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    MashaAllah, i was wondering is the downloadable version going to come out? Or maybe even the video that br AlBaraa mentioned, i think it would be really beneficial and help us in many ways, also it will be preserved so we can go back to it whenever we need it.

    Jazakamullahu khairun

  8. Amad

    May 1, 2008 at 1:10 PM

    Alima, waiyaki.
    A downloadable pdf version has been added. See at the top of this post.

    jak for the reminder
    w/s

  9. Alima

    May 1, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    JazakAllahu khairun Br Amad, mashaAllah that was fast!

  10. Pingback: PR Lessons from the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s “Obama Surgery” | MuslimMatters.org

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