Imposter Syndrome? Fear of Being an Expert? Speaking to the Media Can Be Scary, But You Can Overcome It
Talking with members of the press can be nerve-racking and intimidating, even for the most seasoned professionals. This fear comes in different forms – fear of being an expert, imposter syndrome, fear of being misquoted, etc. – all very common reactions when speaking with the press. Luckily, no matter how your fear manifests itself, we’ve helped thousands of professionals overcome these concerns. Read on for tips and real-life success stories.
Preparation is Always Key
ALWAYS be the most prepared person in the room. You would never walk into a big client meeting or trial without preparedness, and speaking with the media is the same. Spend as much time as needed to prepare your communication points, and get to know the person you will be speaking with and the outlet they represent. Understand you will not know everything before your interview (no one does!), and it’s perfectly acceptable to say you don’t have all the information to answer that question, or it’s not your area of expertise.
Often forgotten about by those that have imposter syndrome, is that one of the reasons a reporter or editor wants to speak with you, is they have deemed you a source worth speaking to. Take that as a compliment.
Case Study – Approach Media Opportunities Like Your Work: Berbay worked with a female trial lawyer who had her own law firm. Although very successful, she was uncomfortable speaking with press. We worked with her to shape her media prep skills like her meticulous trial prep skills. This shift in mindset allowed her to find her stride during interviews, just as she did in the courtroom.
Gain Some Perspective
Perspective is a potent tool in combating impostor syndrome. Remember, everyone experiences self-doubt. Try talking with speakers, writers, or spokespeople you admire; chances are, they’ve faced similar doubts and can offer valuable advice.
Before an interview, consider the reporter’s perspective. They are not an expert on the topic, which is why they are coming to you for valuable insight and your opinion. They also might be nervous to speak with someone with your knowledge and credentials. Remind yourself that you are the expert and you’re helping them get their job done.
You may never be ready for whatever role you’re put into, whether it’s a promotion or a speaking opportunity. But by jumping in and filling the shoes you need to fill, you will gain experience and confidence while gradually chipping away at the voice inside your head telling you you’re not good enough.
Case Study – Face Your Fears: Berbay was hired by a real estate firm to generate visibility via the media. Once opportunities were knocking at the door, the established spokesperson hesitated to participate, even with coveted interview opportunities. After comprehensive media training and a few first interviews, it was realized that the fear was far inflated. In reality, it was similar to conversations they had throughout the day with clients, partners and others.
Get an Athlete Mentality
Elite athletes are known for their grit, resiliency and grace under pressure. Can you imagine training for years for a competition that lasts one hour or 5 minutes? While a media interview might not require Olympic-level training, the intention is the same. Christie Southern, Principal of Head Coach Mental Performance Consultants says it’s developing the mind of a champion. She helps athletes reach their full potential and compete at the highest level. She adapting to new tasks. Take this into account while practicing interviewing skills. As a result, you can improve mental capacity, concentration, resilience and attitude, and ultimately boost your confidence.
Case Study – Learn From Your Mistakes: One strategy we worked on with a law firm client was to record calls or videos with the media so that he could self-correct. Each time, it led to small revisions that ended up improving the final product for subsequent opportunities. Today, with multiple placements and appearances under his belt, he’s transformed into a media pro.
Practice Makes Perfect
Fear of being an expert and impostor syndrome can be overcome with practice, strategic approaches and a commitment to improvement. Just like you would assess your techniques after a trial or negotiation tactics following a big client deal, each interview provides an opportunity to reflect and make adjustments for the next one. Over time, these media conversations will become second nature and your fears will be long forgotten.
Partner with a Trusted Los Angeles Marketing and PR Firm
Berbay Marketing & Public Relations has nearly three decades of experience providing law, real estate and financial firms with marketing and public relations services that propel your business forward. Berbay’s dedicated team has demonstrated success securing media placements, achieving nominations and rankings, revitalizing websites and social media, obtaining speaking engagements and more.
Looking to grow your firm with Los Angeles’ proven Marketing and PR team? Contact Berbay at 310-499-2584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.