CEO MEDIA COACH interviews with Chief Executive Magazine

Donatella Giacometti, Chief Communications Strategist for CEO MEDIA COACH Inc., says CEOs today need to be prepared for a media encounter on camera because you never know when it’s going to happen.

“It will come. It might come as a friendly interview. It might come in a crisis communications situation. Or even if you think about it as a customer presentation. All of those aspects of presenting come into play, almost on a daily basis,” Giacometti says.

Giacometti notes that there are 3 billion smartphones on the planet and almost all of them have a camera. In other words, the camera will always be on a CEO, in some regard. In a video interview with Chief Executive Editor-in-Chief Dan Bigman, Giacometti offered a few tips for CEOs who may not be as familiar with the camera.

Be Concise. Before the interview begins, CEOs need to figure out what three points they want to get across and stick with them, says Giacometti. As for why they should stick to three points, she says, “Otherwise it’s difficult to remember and you might get caught up in the conversation in your head, rather than conversing with your host.”

Figure out your story. Giacometti says that CEOs need to think about the essence of what it is they need to communicate. “Considering an interview is like reaching one person at a time, think about what it is you are trying to get across and how you can make that story understandable to that stakeholder.”

Wardrobe is important. Think about what is projecting from your physical image and wardrobe, says Giacometti. “Those things are important and should not be taken for granted,” she says. Make sure your outfit is tailored, your nose is powdered and there is no reflective shine in the camera. “It’s not about vanity…it’s about courtesy. What we’re doing is for an audience, people giving us their time and tuning into what we have to say.”

Try not to think out loud. Verbal fillers such as “um” and “ah,” can really hurt how a CEO is portrayed says Giacometti. Those fillers are distracting to the speaker, she says, and gets in the way of getting your message across. Behind the scenes, she recommends CEOs avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages before the interview. She also says prepare a few talking points beforehand and commit them to memory.

Remember to breathe. “It’s easy to hold your breath when you are nervous, divert your energy. You need to pace and modulate your voice,” she says. In this sense, Giacometti says you should remember the 3 Cs: comfortable, confident, and conversational. “If you can achieve those three Cs with the help of rehearsal and annotated content, so you know what you want to say in advance…. you’ve done a great job.”