Interview Tips

Interview Tips for Media

Media interviews are an important part of an overall public relations campaign. If you get called to do an interview with the media, you have to prepare for the media interview.
Following are some interview tips for media:

  1. Arrival and location

    You have to arrive at the media outlet 5-10 minutes early. You have to allow plenty of time for the unexpected that is for no parking space or traffic. If interview is at your office, then be prepared early. If the interview is in your office, tidy up. Put away piles of papers and clutter.

  2. Do your homework

    Preparation always increases your confidence. You must stay up on current events. Find out questions and prepare answers.

  3. Dress Appropriately

    Dress in a way that makes you feels confident. If on television:

    • for men, a dark suit and blue shirt is best.
    • For women, avoid solid black or white patterns. Bright colors are fine.

  4. Don't fill the gaps

    After answering a question, stop talking. You have no obligation to keep the interview going. If the reporter has further questions he/she will ask.

  5. Be a good listener

    You have to listen carefully. Don't interrupt the interviewer; begin your answer when the reporter is finished. If you are not getting the question, then ask for clarification.

  6. Do's for media interview

    • At the time of television interview, look at the interviewer and not at the camera.
    • Use the interviewer's name in conversation. It creates a more intimate conversation and it makes the interviewer feel good.
    • All people in your organization who are likely to be contacted by a reporter must give essentially the same answer. Disagreement will give the reporter just the controversy he's probably seeking.
    • When a reporter calls requesting an interview, don't hesitate to ask the subject of the interview and for some sample questions. If you need time to collect your thoughts then ask about that.
    • Have printed materials to support your information whenever possible in order to help the reporter minimize errors.
    • During an interview, speak simply, use metaphors that help to convey complex ideas in everyday terms and explain technical terms if you must use them.
    • During radio or television interview, think before you speak. Avoid fillers such as uh, ah, well, yeah.
    • Establish a reputation of accessibility with reporters so that they will check with you before publishing bad news about your organization.
    • Remember a reporter asks questions because it's his job, but it's not compulsory for you to answer all of them.
    • If the reporter's questions don't relate to the main point of your research, then let him/her know about this.
    • Remember you are the expert, not the reporter. If you think reporter's information is incorrect, then do not hesitate to correct it.
    • Tell the positive side of the story.
    • Remember that it is a common practice for reporters to record all conversations conducted over a telephone.
    • Always keep an eye on the clock.
    • Keep in mind that nobody is perfect. If you discover after an interview that one of the facts you gave is incorrect, call the reporter back with the correct information.
    • Give positive feedback to reporters after a story appears.

  7. Don'ts for media interview

    • Don't over react to a reporter's questions by becoming angry.
    • Don't answer a question out of your area of expertise, even if you know the correct answer.
    • Don't try to stop a story.
    • Don't tell a reporter more than he/she wants to know.
    • Don't discuss specific information that would tend to give aid to the competition.
    • Don't repeat negative questions in a response.
    • Don't argue with a reporter, even when provoked.
    • Don't blame anyone for anything.
    • Don't say "no comment".
    • Don't allow the reporter to compare yourself or your organization to anyone/anything else.
    • Don't ask the reporter when the story will appear.
    • Don't drop your guard when the interview is over.
    • Don't give additional publicity to bad news.
    • Don't expect every word, fact and figure to be reported.

  8. Stay calm

    Be friendly even when the interviewer isn't. Avoid arguments. Be cool and positive.

  9. Be concise

    Always keep answers short and must related to the point. You have to give a chance of being quoted correctly.

  10. Be accurate

    The information provided must be absolutely accurate. If the information provided is wrong then your credibility can be destroyed.

  11. Keep it simple

    You must avoid the abbreviations during the interview. You have to use the language that will understand by the public.

  12. Be comfortable and take charge

    If the interviewer interrupts before you finish answering a question, then pause, listen and then continue to answer the initial question. If a reporter calls and you need time to gather the information, say you will call right back.

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