Interview Tactics and Communication Skills & Tips for Leaders


Dr. Relly Nadler: This week we have communication expert, Gayl Murphy, who will be talking about Interview Tactics: How to Survive the Media Without Getting Clobberedthe Insiders Guide to Giving Killer Interviews, and about communication tips and skills for our leaders.

Gayl is an expert because she has interviewed more than 14,000 of the world’s leading celebrities and newsmakers. She’s a veteran Hollywood Correspondent who has spent 17 years on the front lines of ABC Radio News. She is currently a frequent show business reporter for BBC Radio and TV, Sky News, E Entertainment, AP Radio, ABC Radio Network, Australian Broadcast Company, Canadian Broadcast Company.

She’s been imparting her sage advice to entrepreneurs, authors, experts, rock starts, TV heartthrobs, models, start-up corporate media virgins, for the past 10 years. Today she is going to bring some expertise to what and how leaders can be interviewed and how do they interview for key positions. What should you look for? What are some of the key signs to stay away from

Gayl’s new book, Interview Tactics: How to Survive the Media Without Getting Clobbered – The Insiders Guide to Giving Killer Interviews. She is a media and professional business coach and sought after speaker, high-energy author, has imparted her solid media expertise to a variety of places, Parsons Engineering, Sony Pictures, NBC, Warner Brothers, The Scientists at the Book Institute for Age Research and doctors at leading hospitals.

Gayl says it’s her job to “celebritize” the readers of her book so that they in turn become media stars and drive their brand, product and reputation. Gayl, welcome to the call.

Gayl Murphy: Well thanks so much, thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: We love it and we love to learn. Anything you can share with us that is going to help not only make our audience better, but make us better, we are all for it. I would like to make sure that we start our show with a little bit of insight about you, Gayl. Even though Relly shared a tremendous intro there, we like to ask everybody one key question and that is: Who have been the most influential people and thinkers in your life and career and how have they shaped your thinking about your work today?

Gayl Murphy: Well, I actually have a couple, and I’m looking at them because there are pictures right here. Phil Jackson, the couch of the Los Angeles Lakers has always been a huge personal mentor of mine, the Zen Master. How to say a lot using a little.

Albert Einstein because he didn’t talk until he was three. It would have driven me nuts. Probably, I guess like a lot of people, my family. Richard Branson is a huge personal mentor of mine. He doesn’t know it but he is. You know what, every person who tells me something and I find it in my heart to be true mentors me in some way. I try to find a new mentor every day even if it’s somebody I don’t even know. Just tell me something that moves me along on my journey, and I thank you for it.

Dr. Relly Nadler: That’s beautiful.


It kind of creates a space for you I guess, which is great. But also, you really want to learn something from others. I think this is going to be fun just for the three of us in this conversation. Tell us a little more for our audience about the kind of work and the clients that you work with today. What is it that you bring to them?

Gayl Murphy: Well, I was a correspondent for ABC News for 17 years and for the last 10 or so I’ve been working with BBC and Sky News. One of the really cool things about having the opportunity to interview about 14,000 of these top 1%er’s is that they have such great products and such great services. You know, it’s amazing anything gets done in this town. Or any town that you are looking at because it’s just really hard.

It took writing a book. Anybody that tells you that it’s easy, is only trying to tell you something, it’s really hard to write a book. Creating the time, creating the space. I met so many people on the way that had such a great product or such a great service, but were so completely unprepared for the process of actually telling it to another person. I was so dismayed about that. I was thinking, God, this is such a great opportunity for you and you are giving me yes or no answers, and you are not making it interesting, you are frightened, tentative, and you don’t know what it is that you are supposed to do.

I thought, you know what, I bet if I wrote the quintessential guide to how to survive the media without getting clobbered by me. Because for me, clobbering you means I’m not going to report your story. No matter how much time we spent because I’m just too busy. So, that every person in the future that I would ever interview would read it and say, oh my god, this is brilliant, I’m no longer a media virgin, I am now a media darling and I’m just really going to get out there and tell it to sell it. That has turned into a speaking career and a coaching career and I’m 10 times busier now than I was then.

One of the things that I do in my book is I teach that the relationship with the media is like the relationship between two sports teams. They spend the majority of their time or at least half of their time looking at videos of the other team so they can strategize the behavior of the person that is interviewing them, how they like to interview, if they like to sneak up on people, if their plays are pretty straight ahead, if it’s tabloid journalism, or if it’s gotcha sports, at least you know this in advance. That’s all part of preparation.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: This is fascinating. I’m just, as you know I released a book recently which became a best seller and went through all of this madness, and now I’m gearing up again for another PR campaign coming up. I’d love our audience to hear just from somebody who is an expert on this. Why is communication and your image so important to your success. I mean I know it, and you pay a lot of money for it, so why is it so important?

Gayl Murphy: Oh, because it’s how the work sees you. You get to make that decision. You get to decide. You never want to forfeit that power. How do you want the world to see you? What do you want them to be saying about you in five weeks from now when they are telling somebody that they heard you on a show or they saw you speak at a seminar. You get to program people.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Can you talk with us and the audience about some of the common problems and pitfalls you see people doing when they are being interviewed.

Gayl Murphy: Well I’ve just got to back up here for just a second. This current book that I have is the newly revised edition of my first book, Interview Tactics. It has the addition of 14 new chapters which I call the lost chapters of Interview Tactics. But just between you and I, I wanted to sort of make a confession, and I know you won’t tell anybody, these chapters were never really lost. They just didn’t exist.

From 2001 until now we have experienced a shift in media of absolute tectonic proportions, almost like a Tsunami. It hit everyone at once and it literally changed the way we think about the media forever; this shift. I decided with the inclusion of these 14 new chapters, that was going to be my mission. Not only was I going to change the way people thought about the media forever, I was going to redefine the media forever.

With all due respect to Mr. Webster and his dictionary, he defines media as an unknown; the various means of mass communication thought of as a whole; TV, radio, print, together with people involved in their production. My definition of media, also a noun, “anyone or anything that has the ability to take your message and move it forward.”

When I talk to people about their business, whether they are creative entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, CEOs, corporate types, whatever, I ask them if they have done much media. Most people think of media as TV, radio, print, magazines, and that kind of stuff. Many times people have, but also on many occasions people say no, we are still in our first round of funding, we aren’t there yet, we B to B, we are not really focused on doing media right now. But if media is anyone or anything that has the ability to take your message and move it forward, which I firmly believe it is, then basically if you tell me you are not doing any media or you haven’t, what you are basically telling me is that you have never left a message on anybody’s voicemail, never written an email, never written a letter or post-it-note, don’t have a business card, no promotional marketing materials, never have in any way advertised yourself; the fact is that we have been doing it all along but maybe with not the greatest intention.

One of the greatest marketing and PR tools for increasing exposure for your business, your career, your product and service, lies in working with the media. But that is the new definition of media. Telling your story, be it to a gatekeeper, a decision maker, radio, TV, print, newspaper, website, podcast, blog, or posting on your favorite social networking site, these same 15 minutes of fame can make you star, that is if you are prepared for the media onslaught and have savvy media skills that take you to a place where you can tell your story in a way that people will hear it, use it, remember it, post it, and run with it.

The biggest mistake people make when they do media or an interview, is that they think it’s about them. It’s not. It’s about the story. It happens to be your story, but at the end of the day, when that story comes out if you are working with traditional media, your name might not even be in that story. Guess whose name is on it? The person you told your story to. We are all story tellers. You don’t want anybody else to define you, you want to be able to define yourself.

So you want to be memorable, you want to stay memorable. One of the ways of being memorable and staying memorable is by creating messages that people remember. There are four ways to do that:

  1. Identify your core message. What are you selling, what is it across the board in your business or your message or what you are doing that doesn’t change regardless of who your client is.
  2. Lead with it. Make that your pitch.
  3. What problem it solves. It has got to solve like twenty different problems. What problem does it solve? Who is your end user?
  4. Then you want to piggy-back that core message on what people are already talking about so they can make it their own.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So say a little bit more about that last one. The other ones, I think, are a little more obvious. Are you saying on that last one that if already have a great core message and you are helping people solve problems, but it’s so off what other people are already doing or they know about or are talking about?

Gayl Murphy: You have to make it about them. You can’t make your message about yourself. Now, I’ll give you an example. You say to me, “So, Gayl, what do you do?” I say to you, “I celebritize leaders.” Now I made up the world celebritize. So I can’t even really tell you what it is. But people hear it and they want it. Or they want to ask me another question, and that is the single, most important thing, that we engage in conversation. No one has the bandwidth anymore. We are just so Twittered, texted and Blackberry’d out, however the word celebrity is a huge catch stone. It’s a sticky word. But if we were doing a show on CEOs here and you asked me what I did, I’d tell you I celebritize CEOs. If this was a show about authors and you asked me what I did, I would tell you that I celebritize authors.

Does my job change? Not a lick. But I’m very clear about what I sell to people. At the end of the day in what I do, one size does not fit all, ever. I kind of wish I was selling aluminum siding, sometimes, because it’s so highly personalized. That’s what I really have to sit down with the person and determine what their goals are.

Some people want to be media coached just to know how to take a meeting. Some people want to media coached because they are raising money for their business and they are not comfortable in that environment. Then sometimes I’ll get a call saying that I have a client that’s going to be on Rachel Ray tomorrow, can you media coach them this afternoon.

My job is exactly the same.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So that would be your core message; celebritize folks and then leading with exactly what you were saying, and then depending on their particular problem whether it’s Rachel Ray or whatever, taking that into consideration.

Gayl Murphy: Absolutely. But, it’s really about telling it to sell it. You’ve got to pitch it to promote it so you can tell it to sell it, authentically.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Now this is fascinating. I just did an exercise with a top Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company telling them the media was going to interview them when they left their strategy building session and they had to have a one sentence, pithy, line ready to give the media. So on that note; what common pitfalls do you see with corporate executives who have to sell their vision and strategies to their organization?

Gayl Murphy: Well, here’s the thing about that one line. You’ve got to have something like twenty of them, not just one. It has to be about them. You must make it about them. Why do you have to make it about them? Because you have to get people emotionally invested in you in order to want to talk to you. The way in which you do that, is you make it about them, so they think, oh my gosh, this woman is singing my song. She knows me. Be kind, don’t be exclusive, be kind. Be memorable and stay memorable; make it about them.

Listen to the complete interview above, without commercials.



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