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3 Ways to Regain Control of a Challenging Media Interview

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Over 36 years as a professional broadcaster and media expert, I have been interviewed hundreds of times. The trouble is not all interviews go as hoped and planned. If you are going to grow your media presence and brand identity, you must learn to maintain composure when an interview horribly wrong. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a novice guest, mastering the art of maintaining composure and regaining control during a bad media interview is crucial. Today, I will give you 3 Ways to Regain Control of a Challenging Media Interview.

  1. Preparation Is Key The foundation of composure lies in thorough preparation. Before the interview, research the host, the show's style, and the potential topics that might come up. You'll be better equipped to respond thoughtfully by anticipating challenging questions or scenarios. Prepare key talking points, anecdotes, and statistics that reinforce your message. This preparation will empower you to steer the conversation back on track if it veers off course.

  2. Breathe and Pause When faced with unexpected or tough questions, the pressure to respond quickly can lead to rambling or stumbling. Instead, practice taking a deep breath and pausing briefly before answering. This momentary pause not only buys you time to gather your thoughts but also projects a composed demeanor to your audience. Pausing also signals that your responses are thoughtful and deliberate, which can diffuse tension.

  3. Maintain a Positive Tone Even in challenging moments, maintaining a positive and respectful tone is essential. Audiences are likelier to side with a guest who remains composed and respectful, even when confronted with tough questions. Avoid arguing; instead, focus on presenting your viewpoint confidently and poise. A positive tone reflects well on you and encourages a productive exchange of ideas. Learn more ways to maintain composure by watching this episode of 2 pm LIve with the Trigger.

2 pm LIve with the Trigger airs Monday - Friday at 2 pm ET on Linkedin, Facebook, X, and YouTube. Join the conversation daily and level up your media skills.


Rich “Trigger” Bontrager is the creator and host of How To Rock the Stage Show, airing live each Wednesday night. Rich hosts the National Speakers Association (NSA) podcaster, author forums, and the new NSA LIVE show Behind the Stage. Entrepreneurs, executives, and speakers hire Rich to unleash their brand authority by learning media-savvy skills that help them shine on camera and stage.

You can reach Trigger at


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