Some of us with aspergers are quite bright in certain areas and some of us interact with the press, because they want to know what we’re doing in our work. I am one of those people, so I want to regale you with a few tips on interviews with the press while being on the Asperger spectrum.
The first thing is don’t have a meltdown, sure a ton of people yelling questions, pointing cameras, microphones and other objects towards you while live streaming everything to the entire world is stressful. What makes something like that even more stressful is when a problem in your presentation happens and you have to fix it while the entire world and impatient reporters watch and may even make comments.
The second and one of the most important things is to always keep eye contact with reporters. Yes, it’s important to keep eye contact with everyone, but reporters are extremely important to keep eye contact with, since some of them will write down everything you do and others have cameras. If you break eye contact at the wrong moment this could be rude and have negative consequences in their writing.
One thing that I am not great at is how to tell the press when enough is enough, so I just start talking to another reporter in hopes that the ones bothering me will leave. While this is most likely considered rude, I had enough reporters around me to make up several football teams, so it didn’t come out negative.
Am I trying to brag by talking about how to handle the press? No, not at all. I’ve seen people on TV who clearly have aspergers or even say they do and they totally mess up the interviews, thus giving their company bad press. So, I thought this might be useful for those of us who do have to work with the press.
Another thing that is important is giving the press plenty of respect and remember that they will use tricks to try and get you to disclose information that you don’t want disclosed. I can count the number of reporters I will give a sit down interview with on one hand, because my rule is to only give one on one interviews with people who are ethical and will do a great job at reporting. Everyone else can just shout questions at me or if they’re big enough I’ll grant them a phone interview.
By doing this you are removing a ton of stress, because in sit down interviews eye contact is key as is being extremely polite, friendly and pretty “normal”. If I do a press release and am finished with the press and they’re still following me I will brush them aside and while this is rude they need to get the point that I am done. I am not an expert at dealing with the press, far from it. My first time working with the press on a large scale was recently, but boy did I learn a lot. Also, if you take medicine make sure you take yours before doing a press release. I know I wanted to melt down and even cancel the press release more then once, but everyone from everywhere important was watching me, so I couldn’t meltdown even though my mind was screaming to do so.
Instead of melting down I went to a place that was quiet and hung out with friends afterwards and then went and relaxed in my hotel room for a couple hours to recover from the exhaustion my mind took from not melting down, remembering eye contact, being polite, and staying level-headed while the entire world watched my presentation mess up and I had to fix it.
If you are one of the aspies who is smart enough to get the attention of the press, then I sure hope this helps you. Also, when they ask the same question 20 times you have to give them the same answer 20 times. If you give them a different answer once out of those 20 times then you may have just totally botched the interview. Oh, one thing I forgot to do was say my name and my company at the beginning of the interview, since I rarely say my name and I notice others do the same thing. That did botch up one important article, but it was a good lesson. I only did as well as I did because I had some training before the interview to avoid messing up, however that didn’t prepare me for the aspie side of it. I hope all of this advice helps you!