How to make the most of an interview

Here is some advice about how to prepare for interviews – whether they are print, radio or television.

What to do

  1. Ensure you have contact details for the journalist and photographer.
  2. 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.
  3. You should be briefed ahead of the interview about the angle the journalist will be taking and how long the story might take.
  4. Who else is being interviewed”? This is a legitimate question and should be asked.
  5. Practice answering the questions you don’t want to be asked as well as those you do.
  6. Research the journalist, who they work for and issues around the topic.  
  7. For each answer prepare a message or tweet that sums up what you need to get across – no more than 140 characters.
  8. Find evidence to support what you’re saying a customer example, statistic or survey.
  9. Prepare answers to the simple and tough questions. You can catch out either way.
  10. If this is a crisis, discuss the approach with your team.  
  11. Make sure staff understand that only the designated spokesperson speak to media.  

What not to do:

  1. Do not treat the interview as a casual chat, an argument or debate.  
  2. Be prepared to back up your claims.    
  3. Make sure your answers relate to real people, places and situations. Never make it up
  4. Never assume the audience understands your field of expertise.    
  5. Make eye contact  – looking down when answering questions will   make you look shy.  
  6. Take time to answer.
  7. Never say ‘no comment.’ Use other tactics such as  ’That’s interesting but our focus is on...’    
  8. Save something for the next interview.  
  9. Don’t miss an opportunity to calmly restate your message.  
  10. Be honest  – the online world will be around for a long time.

MediaWise runs media training programs. Just some of the programs we run can be seen here or email us on