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Talking to the media in “bite-sized” pieces

May 13, 2015 Bradford Group Administrator

Giving the right sound bite

Giving the right sound bite

Sound bites. You hear them all the time when watching the news. Politicians have perfected them, but for business owners seeking publicity, it can be a little tricky navigating the first couple of interviews.

When I was a producer, I remember listening to 15-minute long interviews trying to select a sound bite for my show. The problem was the person would start giving a great sound bite, only to go off on a tangent, before looping back around to finish the thought. All the while, I wished someone had coached the interviewee before the interview because not only are clear, concise sound bites memorable, but they can put you ahead of your competition who have not mastered this skill.

The good news is that with a little practice and some guidelines, you can feel confident the next time you’re face-to-face with a microphone.


Keep in mind while you may give a 10, 20, 30 minute interview, only 10-20 SECONDS of it will be used. Remember, viewers’ time and attention spans are short. That’s why it’s important to maximize your message with minimal words.

Focus Your Message

Prepare your message ahead of time. That way you will be less likely to ramble during the interview and depart from the message you’re trying to convey. Viewers want to know why this is important to know and how it could possibly affect their life.

If there are multiple parts to your message, remember to tackle one at a time during the interview.

Steer Clear of Distractions

Forget about the camera. Whether you’re doing a live or recorded interview, stay focused on your interviewer. It will help calm your nerves and allow you to focus on delivering your message how you prepared it.  People have a tendency of losing their train of thought or rambling when the camera turns on them. The best way to sidestep that potential pitfall is to focus on your interviewer as if he or she is the only person in the room.

Avoid Jargon

Don’t clutter your interview with jargon. You want to make sure the masses can understand your message. Using short, pithy statements will lend themselves to easy understanding, making them memorable for your viewing audience.


An analogy comparing unlike situations can make for the best, most memorable sound bites, but don’t reach so far to make a connection that the analogy is lost on the viewers. Make sure the analogy is not only logical, but also reasonable.

Not only are clear, concise sound bites memorable, they can put you ahead of your competition who have not mastered this skill.

Don’t Overthink It 

While these are certainly guidelines to make the most of your interview, it is important to not overthink it. You want to make sure you aren’t so focused on delivering the perfect sound bites that your entire interview comes across as a string of taglines. You could be perceived as too “salesy.” Keep your answers short, concise and conversational.

In the end, quality sound bites make you more attractive to the media. Being able to get your message across in a catchy and memorable way, all while being less than 20 seconds, takes practice, but will ultimately make you more memorable. Possessing the ability to deliver sound bites is essential to your media success and can help you in other parts of your business.

So, the next time you’re staring down the lens of a camera, remember these tips and you’re sure to serve up the perfect sound bite.



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