Golf requires discipline, concentration, and strategy, and a host of other mental and physical talents. But even the best and most experienced golfers can get thrown off their game by making simple errors.
The same types of mistakes can ruin more than a Saturday morning round; if made in a media interview, they can damage your company's reputation.
1. Not focusing
What's the one thing you need to focus on when taking a swing? For me, it's throwing my arms out on my drive. If I'm distracted when I step up, I slice the ball.
Similarly, before agreeing to an interview, consider what you want to accomplish with the opportunity. Narrow your focus to a single point you want to make and come back to it no matter how many times you're stepping up to the tee.
2. Not taking control
Playing on an unfamiliar course with little preparation can inflate your score. If you don't know the layout or where the hazards are, you're letting control slip away. Walking the course in advance and preparing for its conditions, on the other hand, can give you confidence in handling it.
In an interview, you don't need to wait for media to ask the questions you want to answer. You can use block and bridge techniques to circle back to core messages. If a business reporter is asking about financials, be prepared with an appropriate response that also returns to your focus.
3. Not practicing good posture
In golf, it's important to keep your head straight and body in position. Otherwise, shots go awry. When conducting broadcast interviews, your physical movements and body language can make your best-prepared messages do likewise.
People often sway or rock back and forth when standing, and unease can introduce or magnify nervous mannerisms while sitting, too. Pay attention to your posture and movements, as anything out of the ordinary can become a distraction to such a degree that your messages don't register.
4. Not engaging
Being present and engaged on a course and with its conditions can help you achieve par. In an interview, it's important to be just as engaged and present. Listen closely to questions. Be prepared with clear answers that are free of industry jargon and acronyms, which may not be familiar to every reporter.
An interview is a conversation, and if the reporter feels comfortable with the tone and direction you set, they may treat you and your messages better. And you won't just be hitting par; you'll be under.