Vollrath Associates


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Eight ways to ace the media interview

October 4, 2013

After weeks of calls, emails and advisories, you’ve finally landed the interview and it’s just a few hours away. You’re likely nervous and imagining several scenarios in which the next 30 minutes could go horribly wrong. Stop, breathe and read on for tips on acing the interview.


1. Be on time. No one likes to be kept waiting. Respect the reporter’s busy agenda by arriving or calling on schedule. Starting late can lead to beginning the interview with some tension; avoid that by being prompt.


2. Answer the question. It sounds simple, but if you’ve listened to the double talk of some suave politicians, you know that answering the question can sometimes seem like an impossible task. The reporter took time to prepare these questions and wants answers. You want the reporter to interview you again in the future, so play nice.


3. Give “opportunity” answers. Be careful with how directly you’re answering the reporter’s questions. Answering the question asked is important, but you also want to give an answer with enough substance to create an opportunity for follow-up questions.


4. Stay focused. Another simple tip. Put the phone away and shut down email. You want to respect the reporter’s time and avoid becoming distracted. Not only will a fumbling answer make you seem less competent, but it will also make the reporter feel they are not important.


5. Be prepared. You’ve taken the time to arrange the interview, so take the time to make sure it goes well. Research the reporter interviewing you. Brainstorm potential questions and answers, and be ready for some curveballs he or she may throw at you.


6. Avoid jargon. Think of it this way: the reporter is writing an article for the public. So, if you wouldn’t use a word when talking to your aunt at the family party, you probably wouldn’t use it in the interview.


7. Tell the truth. This one is easy, too. There are no such things as white lies in the media. The truth will always come out.


8. Relax. You are a person. The reporter is a person. The interview is a conversation and you have the advantage because no one knows your product, organization or business better than you.


This article was written in conjunction with the Ragan article “7 ways to destroy your media interview” by Mickie Kennedy.