Episode 66 | Posted on

Bringing Your Best Self to Every Media Appearance: Rachel Hanfling

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This Week’s Guest:


Rachel Hanfling is an Emmy-nominated TV producer, international keynote speaker, and media and communication consultant who spent two decades producing for some of the nation’s biggest names. She produced at the Oprah Winfrey Show for almost a decade, then became one of the core producers at Anderson Cooper’s show Anderson.


During her time producing for these shows, Rachel was known for finding and nurturing highly sensitive guests such as domestic violence survivors. She also excelled at producing power players including Hillary Clinton, Ryan Seacrest, and many more. Most recently, she co-created and co-executive produced a special called 7 Little Johnstons on Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN.


Find Out More About Rachel Here:

Rachel Hanfling on LinkedIn
@RachelHanfling on Twitter
@RachelHanflingMediaConsultant on Facebook


In This Episode:


  • [01:22] – What exactly is media training, and why do you need it? In her answer, she reveals that one should think strategically about media from the beginning, not wait until you already have media attention.
  • [03:39] – Rachel explains more about what media training is exactly.
  • [05:52] – We hear an example of  details that can ruin a whole interview if not there.
  • [08:16] – There are two main dangers to preparing specific answers: 1. You might not prepare for the right questions. 2. It will sound canned and won’t resonate with your process.
  • [09:24] – Rachel talks about what a pre-interview is.
  • [12:46] – When someone in the media calls unexpectedly, should you put off the call (for a few minutes or a few hours) to give yourself time to prepare? Rachel’s answer is that you should only do this if there are factors that would interfere with the call currently. If you’ve done your homework in advance, you should be ready to go at any time.
  • [15:14] – Rachel talks us through the processes of finding potential guests for Oprah’s show.
  • [17:16] – If you aren’t the best fit for what the producer is looking for, should you suggest someone else for them to contact? In her answer, Rachel emphasizes the importance of trust and relationship-building.
  • [19:40] – What should you do with the various pitches that you should have prepared?
  • [21:44] – Rachel discusses the importance of having previous TV clips when trying to get on a big show like Oprah. She reveals that it’s not absolutely necessary, but definitely helpful.
  • [23:20] – How would Rachel suggest somebody should get started in making media appearances?
  • [24:58] – We hear about how relationship-building led to Rachel being on Brendon Burchard’s stage.
  • [26:06] – Rachel talks about the differences in preparing for various kinds of appearances. What’s the same throughout, she explains, is your messaging.
  • [29:20] – Dealing with a remote camera situation is tough, because there’s no human connection, Rachel explains. She shares her thoughts on how to make the best of this situation.
  • [31:20] – What should you wear if you’re sitting versus if you’re standing?
  • [33:03] – Rachel gives some advice on how to sit during an appearance.
  • [34:07] – What are some of the hooks you should offer a journalist or a producer? When you’re trying to get any kind of media attention, you need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world, Rachel answers. She then talks about promoting yourself with hooks.
  • [37:14] – Stephan asks Rachel if she has any horror stories to share about the pre-interview process. She deftly avoids giving a specific answer, while still providing a great tip: don’t confuse talking about your product with delivering something that could be useful to media. Think about the opposite perspective of Toby Keith’s song I Wanna Talk About Me, she advises.
  • [41:19] – Rachel talks about providing value.
  • [42:23] – We hear Rachel’s thoughts on having a book published as it relates to TV appearances and media attention.
  • [43:59] – Stephan starts a mock pre-interview process with Rachel, and they roleplay the parts.
  • [47:02] – With the roleplaying over, Rachel critiques Stephan’s performance and gives insight into how his answers relate to what she’s been saying. Her biggest tip to him is to sound excited and passionate.
  • [49:50] – Stephan responds to Rachel’s critique. She then points out that the more energy and enthusiasm you can show, the better (up to a point!).
  • [51:32] – In relation to having energy in your voice, Stephan talks about having recently interviewed Roger Love on his other podcast, The Optimized Geek. You can hear that conversation here.
  • [52:05] – How could somebody work with Rachel? She has a course on her website, Rachel Hanfling’s Media Power Plan. She also coaches people on various aspects of media attention, public speaking, and communications.


Links and Resources:

Rachel Hanfling on LinkedIn
@RachelHanfling on Twitter
@RachelHanflingMediaConsultant on Facebook
7 Little Johnstons
Brendon Burchard
I Wanna Talk About Me by Toby Keith
Roger Love on The Optimized Geek
Rachel Hanfling’s Media Power Plan




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