Preparing for Critical Media Interviews

Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services company, based in San Diego, Calif. with revenues of approximately $10 billion, partnered with Pierpont to prepare nearly a dozen of its top executives to face the media.

Sempra Energy’s California utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas, serve more than 20 million consumers. And its other businesses – Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Sempra International – develop and operate critical energy infrastructure and provide gas and electricity services in North America and South America.

Protecting Your Brand Means Being Prepared

Pierpont conducted a “Media Interview Preparation and Response” Workshop for the Sempra executives because they realized the enormous stakes when interacting with today’s media: It takes years to build a corporate brand, but only minutes to destroy it. In the end, establishing credibility and communicating trust is both what you say and how you say it.

During the workshop, Sempra’s public-facing brand ambassadors further fine-tuned their skills for communicating messages with maximum impact. Those tools included message development; interview rehearsal and on-camera simulated interviews and playback critique. Pierpont worked with Sempra on various interview situations, including friendly questions versus hostile questions, rapid-fire questions and questions intended to get their executives to offer personal opinions and industry speculation.

Sempra’s executives learned new interview strategies and tactics they could use immediately to avoid being misquoted, such as: incorporating memorable analogies, stories and sound bites into their answers; respectfully taking control of an interview from the beginning; and transitioning from a reporter’s questions to their prepared messages.

The result was helping Sempra’s team construct and deliver a clear, captivating message to give each of their executives renewed confidence to perform well under all types of media circumstances. 

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