10 Top Tips for a Media Interview
1. Have a clear AIM and know who your audience is. It's important to be crystal clear from the start about what you need to achieve in a media interview and why. You can't afford to fly by the seat of your pants. Identify your target audience and think about the issues that matter most to them.
2. Plan two or three clear messages. What are the three most important issues you need to communicate in a media interview? When you are asked a question try to answer in a way that brings the conversation back to these key points.
3. Use simple, quotable language. You’ve got a better chance of being quoted in an article or included in a TV grab if you use language that everyone can understand. A colourful turn of phrase or an analogy will also make you memorable.
4. Anticipate any left-field questions. If you plan for the trickiest or the toughest questions you might get in a media interview, you should handle the process with flying colours.
5. Avoid speculating or speaking outside your area. If you can’t answer a question, or it would be unwise to, simply explain that it’s not your area of expertise.
6. If the journalist interrupts you, let them. Reporters interrupt and cut you off for many reasons. Let them. It’s an opportunity for you to take a breath and regather your thoughts.
7. Don’t question the questioner. Resist the temptation to start questioning a reporter on an issue or situation. Your view is all that matters. But by all means, if you’re not sure where they’re coming from, ask them to clarify their question.
8. Resist having a personal opinion. In a media interview it’s usually the views of your employer that you should be highlighting, not your own personal views. Use statements like “Acme’s view is …”
9. Keep your responses to around 20 seconds. If you can’t say what you need to say in around 20 seconds then you need to keep practicing. Don’t feel as though you need to keep talking to fill the silence; that’s a reporter’s job.
10. Resist inadvertent agreement. Nodding, saying “mmm” or even “yes” can all signal that you agree with the premise of a question. It can be dangerous if you actually believe the opposite to what you were asked.