Finally, you landed that big interview you’ve been waiting for. You know, the one that’s going to get you all that free press you’ve been hoping for. Okay, well maybe a single interview isn’t going to cause your business to suddenly explode, but it’s definitely one of multiple steps to get you in the public eye where you want to be. No pressure, right?
Well, yeah, there’s a little pressure. You certainly don’t want to screw this up. But don’t worry, as long as you avoid mistakes like those listed below, you should be just fine.
1. Not being punctual—Whether you’ve scheduled a phone interview, a face to face, or a press conference, you never want to leave anyone waiting. I’ve said it over and over, reporters have one of the busiest, most stressful jobs in the entire world. Every minute they wait is a minute wasted that they could be using on a different story. So as you can imagine, if you leave them hanging, when you finally do show up, they might not treat you too kindly.
2. Talking around the questions—When a reporter is interviewing you, they like you to answer their questions. Imagine that. But some people tend to go about it in a politician-like manner, saying a whole lot without actually saying anything at all. Rest assured, they’re good at seeing through the BS.
3. Giving answers that are too direct—On the flipside, you need to be careful with how direct you are. No, I don’t mean you shouldn’t actually answer the question. I’m just saying, you don’t want to be so direct that you shut them down. Even if the question seems to be a yes/no question, you need to expound a little bit so they have something to turn into a follow-up question. Otherwise you’re going to come off like you’re snubbing them.
4. Getting distracted—This happens pretty easily if you’re on a phone interview. Picture this: you’re at your desk answering questions over the phone. Your cell is blowing up in your pocket and you’re dying to figure out what’s going on. You have a pressing deadline and a pile of papers ceiling-high in front of you. Your mind races and next thing you know you’re fumbling through your answers and asking the reporter to repeat questions. Suddenly they don’t feel so important.
5. Being unprepared—Do your homework before you get to that interview. You should know who is interviewing you, why they’re interviewing you, and how you’re going to respond. You should have also identified some possible curve balls they could throw your way and be ready for them. If you show up unprepared, you’re going to look like an idiot—and everyone will know it.
6. Using technical jargon—In your line of work, you probably have technical jargon you use on a daily basis. From big words to crazy acronyms, it’s standard procedural speech. However, the reporters don’t use that sort of talk on a daily basis, and neither does the public. So speak ENGLISH (or whatever language it is you’re interviewing in).
7. Not giving the truth—It’s just like Mom taught you. Even a little white lie is going to come back and bite you in the ass. Never lie to the press, because they will find out. Then they’ll eat you alive.
Have you ever totally screwed up an interview? Or do you know of someone who has? Tell us what happened!
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