It can be an exhilarating feeling when you receive an interview request from the media! After much anticipation and wondering when you’ll have an opportunity to share your message with the world, the time has finally come!
The excitement settles in, and once you learn the logistical details and interview timing, perhaps you feel panic: The interview request time is smack in the middle of a parent-teacher conference that would be impossible to reschedule. The doctor appointment you’ve been waiting for months to get in would be missed. You would need to move important patient or client appointments and meetings to accommodate the interview request.
I often preach to be ready to drop everything, and I mean everything, for the right media opportunity. Reporters and producers are always working on a deadline, and interview requests often demand and require that they happen on the very same day you receive the request. Live radio or TV interviews can happen the same day, or even the next morning, giving you little time to scramble and rearrange what is sure to be your busy schedule!
If you’re game to shuffle your schedule and scramble, then great! Go ahead and make the arrangements and say “yes” to that interview!
But if you’re anything like me, saying “yes” to an interview could mean sacrificing other aspects of your life and cause a negative impact on your well-being. In the past several years, I’ve had many lessons about giving myself permission to say “no” in order to protect my well-being and my family’s. I used to think I had to say “yes” to every opportunity that came my way because it would open up so many more doors and opportunities. In theory, that could be true, and often, it does. But other times, saying “yes” to opportunities such as speaking engagements and media requests would require me to completely rearrange my schedule, cause stress not only in my life but in my family’s, and at the end of the day, energetically drain me because of all of the juggling and rearranging I had to do in my life to accommodate an interview or a speaking opportunity.
If you receive a media request, first, congratulate yourself and be proud. Then, I want you to take a deep breath and give yourself permission to say “no” if you must.
That’s right. You have a right to decline an interview request from the media, and there may be a few reasons to do so:
- Doing this interview would interfere with you or your family’s schedule and cause added stress in your life. To my point above, I want you to get yourself permission to “politely decline” a request if the timing just doesn’t work out for your life. You can always ask the reporter or producer if they have the flexibility to do it another time (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t), but at the end of the day, I want you to do what is best for you and if that means declining, then do so. Then let the reporter or producer know that you would love to be of help to them in the future! There will always be more media opportunities and this could be a nice opportunity to build a new meaningful connection with the press!
- You aren’t the right person to comment on the topic that the reporter is working on. If you’re not the right expert, it is OK to say so, and suggest someone else who may be a better fit. What is better than paying it forward AND helping out a reporter at the same time? I promise you will be remembered for it!
- The interview topic would violate any legal matters, employee privacy, or litigation involving yourself or your company. If the subject matter of the interview interferes with any of these matters, you can also “politely decline” and move about your day. No need to give further explanation to the reporter.
Of course, I always want you to say “yes” to an interview more often than saying “no”, but I find myself telling people (to their surprise!) that it is totally OK to decline an interview request as well!
Take freedom in knowing this, my friend! Your life and well-being are more important than moving mountains to accommodate someone else, whether it is a media request or any other opportunity that may come your way.