Don’t Disrespect the Host of Your Media Interview

Every time you step in front of the camera, walk into a radio studio, or sit down with a reporter from a magazine, your company’s reputation is on the line. Any missteps could cause you to alienate your audience and to burn bridges with the media.

Respecting the host of your interview is one of the keys to making sure the whole thing goes off as smoothly as possible. Here are some guidelines you should follow during your interview.

  • Not giving good answers – Regardless of what you think of the quality of questions the host is asking, you can’t freeze him out by giving short, uninspired answers like “yes” or “no.” Doing so makes you a bad interview, and it’s disrespectful to the guest and his audience. Even if you’ve been asked the same question a million times before, give an insightful, detailed answer that engages the guest and his listeners.
  • Constantly trying to shape the conversation – Like it or not, this isn’t your show. You don’t get to control the agenda. Sure, you have a message you want to get across, but you have to go with the flow that the interviewer is setting. If the conversation is headed in a completely opposite direction, you can’t keep trying to force your agenda. Gently steering the conversation back to your message is one thing, but being completely unresponsive to what’s being asked is another.
  • Getting his name wrong – Learning the interviewer’s name should be the first part of preparing for your interview. There’s nothing sloppier or more disrespectful than showing up and saying “Hey Ken, thanks for having me on” when the guy’s name is Brad.
  • Becoming argumentative – At some point, the host might ask you some tough questions. You don’t want to respond like Vince McMahon and slap at the reporter. You don’t want to get in a shouting match with the host like you see on countless cable political news programs. Instead, you need to remain calm, and you can’t get flustered or defensive. Keep a positive expression, and don’t let your anger or dissatisfaction show.
  • Not making eye contact – This is especially true for TV/video interviews, but it really applies to any media interview. You need to focus on making eye contact with the interviewer as often as possible. When you don’t do that – instead looking at the floor or staring off in the distance – it comes across as uncooperative, disinterested, and disrespectful. Eye contact shows confidence and interest in the host.

What are some other ways guests accidentally (or intentionally) disrespect their hosts?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

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