So you’ve agreed to an interview with a reporter… how do you prepare?
Whether it’s one you initiated or not, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of it going well. Here are just a few basics of preparation that I’ve found helpful, whether it’s a print or broadcast interview, especially if this is your first time.
- Most reporters will let you know the basic areas about which they want to ask questions. That should help you to pick out three points you want to emphasize in the interview. They should all connect or support one central mission message that you want to push, but they should still be stand-alone ideas as well. Write them down as bullet points to yourself if necessary so you remember them. These ideas will also be helpful to use as a bridge when having to briefly address an issue that’s less positive.
“Practice your response or articulation of your points…I mean out loud.”
- Practice your response or articulation of your points…I mean out loud. It provides some practice, breeds confidence, and allows you to actually hear the tone and inflection of your voice which is critical nonverbal communication.
- Professional dress and setting…especially if it’s a TV interview. I know this sounds really obvious, but I want to cover the basics here. Try to connect the interview subject matter with your interview setting. Example: If your subject is about the latest consumer cellphone plans, the setting should be in a retail cellphone store…not an office or outside. Your attire is the same way. If your interview is about issues in the farming and ranching business, work clothes, not a starched shirt and tie, is the route to go. It enhances your credibility. There are some exceptions of course, but this is generally true.
One final thought is to rely on those things that help you relax before the interview. That will come through when the talking starts.