Along with media training, here are six additional tips you can use to ensure a successful interview.
The key to acing interviews? Prepare, prepare, prepare. Not only do you want to ensure that you are ready with your talking points and key messages, but you should also be prepared to answer any difficult interview questions that come your way. A mock interview scenario is a great way to practice answering potential questions or handling any hot topics that may come up during the interview.
Before your interview, ask yourself: What message do I want to share with the audience? Whether these are brand messages, new product information or an internal story you are looking to tell, you will need to be able to deliver your key messages in a positive and impactful way that will resonate with your audience.
Never forget that your interview starts the moment the reporter arrives, and it isn’t over until the moment the reporter leaves. If you are giving a phone interview, assume that the reporter is recording the conversation from the moment you pick up the phone. Anything you say within earshot of a reporter or within range of a microphone is fair game, so be sure you aren’t saying anything you wouldn’t want the public to hear.
Reporters will often remain quiet once you have answered a question, giving you the impression that you should elaborate on your answer or offer further information to fill the dead air. If you have information that adds value or you intend to transition to a different topic, don’t hesitate to take control of the situation, but if you’re speaking just to fill the gap, stop and stay quiet. A second of dead air is better than a minute of rambling.
In a world of shrinking newsrooms, journalists are rarely experts on the stories and topics they report on. This is your moment, and you are in control of the interview. Whatever story you are telling or news you are sharing, show the audience that you are passionate and enthusiastic about your topic. Not only does this create a more engaging interview, but it also positions you as an authority within the community and your respective field.
It happens. Sometimes, you forget key stats or data points during an interview. The most important thing is to remember never to embellish, guess or make up data. Let the reporter know that you don’t want to misrepresent the facts but are happy to follow up with them after the interview to clarify key information. If the reporter pushes you to provide more details or answer a question you can’t address, give a short and honest answer and then bridge to a positive key message – “I don’t know about that, but what I do know is…”
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