Tackling media interviews can be intimidating. Use these five tips to perform at your best:
- Have a preliminary conversation. Speak to the journalist ahead of time and agree on the angle of the story. Don’t expect reporters to be the subject matter experts; ensure that they have it right by providing information about your organization and yourself. Ask for questions in advance.
- Consider possible questions. If you don’t receive questions ahead of time, create a list of probable ones. Think of ways to weave the points you wish to make into your answers. Include some data you can use to verify your points as well. Practice over and over until your answers feel smooth.
- Do your research. Though you are the one being interviewed, research the journalist. Offer praise for past work or ask about a point of interest from the person’s career. Set the tone for a positive interaction from the start.
- Steer the agenda. The journalist is not automatically in control. You can focus on your main points rather than directly responding to a negative question. It’s OK to repeat previous points or expand upon an aforementioned subject.
- Appear relaxed. Keep your eye contact strong and steady and don’t fidget. Have good posture to exude confidence, and keep facial expressions calm and nonreactive when difficult moments arise. If you need a moment to compose yourself or devise a response, ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
— Adapted from “Ten Tips for Mastering Media Interviews,” David Grinberg, www.linkedin.com.