Mobile World Congress

CCgroup’s Congress Crunch: How to prepare for the MWC interview hot seat

We’re now in the throes of MWC, diaries are filling up and spokespeople are readying for a week in front of customers, partners, media and analysts.

Even for the most seasoned spokesperson, MWC can prove challenging; with late nights, early mornings and long days filled with back-to-back meetings. That’s why it’s essential to properly prepare for a week in Barcelona. We don’t just mean ensuring your schedule is teed up (although that is important!), but also making sure you know exactly what to expect from your many media and analyst briefings. Remember, the work doesn’t stop once the interview is in the diary – to make sure your briefings stand out and secure the best possible coverage, preparation is needed to answer the many questions thrown at you in a way that achieves cut through and is compelling to your audience. The top tips from our Mobile & Telecoms team to prepare for the show are below.

We’ve also enlisted the help of Keith Dyer, who like many attending media also spends a large chunk of his at-show time shooting video interviews as Editor of The Mobile Network. When it comes to video, Keith points out that the competition is no less fraught: “The only thing that is different from a usual interview is that these demands are heightened around MWC: there is so much content and video being produced you are really competing for interest.” He’s given us some dos and don’ts for preparing to shine on-camera at MWC.

DO: Know your stuff

Media and analysts at the show are extremely short for time, so when in front of them, it’s important that you know exactly what it is you want to say. Your internal and external communications and marketing teams will have spent months refining your company’s messaging and story for MWC: so make sure you know exactly what it is you want to say.

DON’T: Act like a bot

When we asked Keith what his MWC video interview pet peeve is, he said: “Memorised scripts kill delivery. Yes, you have to be prepared and know what you want to say, but you will come over far better if you talk like a normal human.”

Indeed, MWC may be about bots and AI but that’s the last thing media and analysts want to see from spokespeople. So, smile, be pleasant and just pretend you’re talking to a friend. Most importantly, demonstrate how passionate you are about your subject matter – nobody likes to sit opposite an executive who shows little excitement about what he or she is discussing. As Keith says: “Talk to me with vitality about your business.”

DO: Stay out of the weeds

As technology experts, it can be very difficult for spokespeople to leave the jargon behind. While we’re not advocating that all spokespeople abandon the many acronyms that plague (enrich) the telecoms industry, it is all about knowing what’s right and what isn’t.

Think carefully about your audience; are you speaking with a core telecoms journalist or are you in front of a broadcaster like CNBC or Bloomberg? Build a story that is compelling without being so complex that it’s impossible for anyone to understand.

This is all about adapting your interviewing style to your audience. For example, a technology analyst will be more receptive to hearing about the nuts and guts of your technology, while a telecoms journalist will be more interested in how he or she can build a story from your technology and story. In the words of Keith: “Tell me in normal language why this product/piece of research or strong opinion is important. Why do I need to know about it? And how will it help me run my business?”

DON’T: Assume that your tech will be loved by all

While you might think your company’s offering is the best thing to come out since the Nokia 3310 (and we applaud that enthusiasm), in reality it may actually be a little dull. So while you should of course provide an overview of the technology, it’s more important to focus on what it means to the wider industry, what its impact is, and how will it change the industry. Be prepared for questions and scrutiny during your interviews – very few good journalists and analysts are going to nod along and smile as you describe why your company is the “leading provider”. Along with knowing your facts, you need to be ready to answer what can be challenging questions. In the end, media and analysts will like you more for it.

Interviews at MWC can be hard work, whether that be video or broadcast interviews, or face to face briefings, but when done right, it can also be extremely rewarding. By ensuring you are au fait with your company’s messaging and are able to provide an engaging and compelling proposition without straying into the technical ins and outs, you’ll be on your way to interview success. And let’s face it, MWC is one big competition for attention. With the above tips, you’ll be sure to come out on top.

Written by Anais Merlin


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