Here is some advice about how to prepare for interviews – whether they are print, radio or television.
What to do
- Ensure you have contact details for the journalist and photographer.
- Make sure you have a copy of your press release at hand OR at least the information that you or your media liaison officer has given to the journalist.
- You should be briefed ahead of the interview about the angle the journalist will be taking and how long the story might take.
- Who else is being interviewed”? This is a legitimate question and should be asked.
- Practice answering the questions you don’t want to be asked as well as those you do.
- Research the journalist, who they work for and issues around the topic.
- For each answer prepare a message or tweet that sums up what you need to get across – no more than 140 characters.
- Find evidence to support what you’re saying a customer example, statistic or survey.
- Prepare answers to the simple and tough questions. You can catch out either way.
- If this is a crisis, discuss the approach with your team.
- Make sure staff understand that only the designated spokesperson speak to media.
What not to do:
- Do not treat the interview as a casual chat, an argument or debate.
- Be prepared to back up your claims.
- Make sure your answers relate to real people, places and situations. Never make it up
- Never assume the audience understands your field of expertise.
- Make eye contact – looking down when answering questions will make you look shy.
- Take time to answer.
- Never say ‘no comment.’ Use other tactics such as ’That’s interesting but our focus is on...’
- Save something for the next interview.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to calmly restate your message.
- Be honest – the online world will be around for a long time.