Successful media interviews come with experience and the use of a few key skills; and one of my favorites is Mind Mapping. In situations where you, as a spokesperson for your organization, are expected to know everything there is to know about your firm’s history, people, products and services, Mind Mapping can make the difference between a successful interview and an opportunity lost.
Mind Mapping is a process of identifying important information about an organization and what it does, provides, produces, sells and distributes, and how it communicates with its key audiences: employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, partners, influencers, followers, media outlets and more. A Mind Map can be a general overview of your entire organization or a very focused, detailed look at a single product, service or issue.
The Process Starts with a Circle
Start your Mind Map by drawing a circle in the center of a white board, flip chart or piece of paper. In the circle, write down the subject of the Mind Map. Is this an overview of your company? A detailed look at your latest product or service? A major issue facing your company or industry? A crisis situation? Whatever the subject, write it in the center circle.
From that circle, link smaller circles that are directly related to the subject. If it’s a product, one circle could contain key benefits. A second circle could contain key product features. A third could contain competitive products. A fourth could contain key messages. You get the picture.
Then, each of those secondary circles can branch off into additional subject areas. For instance, competitive products could branch off into features, benefits, pricing or reliability circles of their own.
It’s All About Relationships
The end result of the Mind Mapping process is a “road map” of information and messages tied to a central subject. Another benefit is that the actual process helps you retain those key messages and other important information and visualize their relationship to each other. This is particularly helpful in being able to “bridge” from one subject area back to another.
Bridging is critical if you get caught off guard by a tough question. It allows you to briefly address the negative question and then quickly return to those key messages you want the interviewer (viewer, listener, reader) to remember.
So, does it work? It does. And the proof is the Mind Maps I’ve seen people get laminated and keep on their desks. Just in case.