Our experience shows there are some basic practices to follow when you are doing an interview with a reporter. Whether it is TV, radio, print or online, the following interview “rules” will help you prepare for and complete a successful interview.
- Ask for questions in advance. Most reporters will not provide all questions in advance, but may provide a few key questions.
- Be proactive. After you have determined your key messages and corresponding talking points, look for opportunities to make the points even if the interviewer does not mention the subjects… “You didn’t ask me about this, but I think it’s important that you know.”
- Set a time limit. Some reporters will ask questions over and over, looking for inconsistency in answers. Ask if there is need for clarification and, if not, end the interview on time.
- Off the record. For all practical purposes, there is no such thing as “off the record” – ever! Everything you say and how you say it is part of an interview. That includes facial expressions and body language.
- For TV interviews remember to focus on the person asking the questions, not the camera. TV will use brief soundbites. Prepare for the interview by developing some quotable quotes that are succinct, memorable and to the point.
Finally, you may want to consider utilizing the services of a good public relations firm. They not only act as a buffer between you and the reporter, but firms that have good relationships with members of the media can often help ensure a more positive outcome or story.
At Marx Layne, we have conducted media training for Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and are as equally well versed in message development, media affairs and reputation management.