News & Events

Best Practices for Nailing Your Media Interview

A media interview can shake the nerves of the most unflappable leader.

Sure, talking with the press may be outside of your day-to-day routine, but accept the invitation for what it is: a golden opportunity to share information about your company.

When most people think of being interviewed by the press, they think of microphones in their face, tape recorders capturing every gaffe and pause and reporters scribbling down every word being said.

The truth is, most reporters are focused on getting an accurate story, and you get to help them.

Sure, an interview may come at a time when you are facing scrutiny or a bit of bad press, but when prepared, an interview can be the perfect opportunity to turn any situation to your advantage.

These five tips will help you and your team prepare the next time a reporter requests an interview:

  1. Focus on the message. It’s easy to get side tracked and veer off on a subject you didn’t intend to mention. Before the interview, decide what you want to talk about it and stick to those points. You have control over how you want to respond to any question.
  1. But remember, you should always prepare for certain questions. Most reporters will tell you what they want to talk about when scheduling an interview, but you likely know why they are calling before the phone rings. For example, has your company or industry been in the news lately? Are there trends happening that you may have special insight to? Being armed with a strong soundbite can make smooth sailing out of the more difficult questions.
  1. Don’t rush to answer the question. Pause, take a breath and use that time to think about your answer. If you start answering and get tongue-tied, ask the reporter if you can answer the question again. They understand most people get nervous and are usually happy to accommodate – plus, they want the best soundbite for their story.
  1. Think of the interview as a conversation between acquaintances: smile and make eye contact, use a relatively informal tone and avoid talking up or down to the reporter. Keeping these points in mind will make the interview more relaxing for you and the reporter.
  1. End with a strong soundbite. Rather than ending the interview with a simple thank you, use your last few minutes to reinforce the points you’ve been discussing.


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