Media interviews are double-edged swords. On one hand, if you perform well during your interview, you can enjoy the benefits of increased exposure, enhanced credibility, and more future interviews. On the other hand, a poor performance during a media interview can diminish your credibility and damage your brand.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make sure your interview goes as smoothly as possible. Get started by following these simple tips.
1. Know the show you’re going on – Obviously, an interview on The Howard Stern Show will be much different than an interview on the local news. You need to learn about the show (or magazine, blog, etc.) you’re going on well in advance of your interview. This way, you’ll understand who the audience is, what the tone of the show is, and what type of questions you can expect. Google is your friend here.
2. Practice with a mock interview – Write up a list of questions you think will probably be asked, and have a friend or co-worker interview you with them. Focus on delivering your answers clearly and in a friendly, conversational tone.
3. Prepare bullet points ahead of time – For every interview, you should always have a short list of 3-5 bullet points that cover the main message you wish to get across in your interview. These bullet points will help you stay on point and ensure the audience and reporter clearly understand your message.
4. Don’t over-prepare – You need to prepare properly for your interview, but there’s a very thin line between being prepared and being over-prepared. Let me explain. When you’re over-prepared, you run the risk of delivering pre-written responses in a robotic fashion. Being over-prepared can also make it difficult to adjust when the interview heads in a new direction that you weren’t expecting. So, by all means prepare for your interview and make sure you know your stuff, but don’t get so over-prepared that you aren’t able to deviate from the script.
5. Get to the point in your answers – While you certainly want to go beyond simple “yes” and “no” answers, you don’t want every answer to be a 10 minute speech. You need to focus on delivering your messages as clearly and to the point as possible. This means keeping off-topic remarks to a minimum and using simple language that everyone can understand. Get to the point!
6. Speak clearly – As strange as it might seem, one of the biggest challenges of your media interview will be to speak clearly so that everyone can understand you. Speak slowly and be sure to properly enunciate your words. Make sure to take a pause when you need it so you don’t run out of breath during your response. These seem like common sense tips, but nerves can get to even the best of us during a media interview.
7. Stay positive – In some interviews, the reporter or host will hit you with harsh or negative questions. Ignore your temptation to get upset and defensive as this won’t go over well with the reporter or the audience. Instead, stay positive. Always be respectful and courteous with your responses while still making sure your point gets across clearly.
8. Be flexible – It doesn’t matter if you’re being interviewed on TV, radio, a podcast, or in print, things usually won’t go 100% as planned. As the conversation takes place, the interview can often change directions. This means you need to be flexible. Be ready to handle unexpected questions with poise and confidence. Don’t throw a fit when your preferred topics aren’t being discussed. It’s all about being flexible.
9. Leave on a high note – If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll remember the episode where George always tries to leave the room on a high note. He wants to walk out while people think good things about him and before he says something dumb that leaves a bad taste in their mouths. The same concept applies to your media interview. Make sure you leave on a high note. Even if it means repeating something you’ve already said, do whatever is necessary to finish strong. People have a tendency to remember the last things you say, so make it count.
What do you do to prepare for your media interviews? Share your best tips in the replies.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.