The best way to ensure a successful media interview is to prepare. The Communication Team is available to help you develop messages, anticipate reporters’ questions and even practice an interview.
But before you call or meet with a reporter or go on camera, consider these helpful tips:
What you say and how you say it
- Before the interview, think about the most important points you want to get across for each question. These are your key messages. If it helps, think about what you’d like the headline of the story to be.
- If asked a direct question, avoid “yes” or “no” responses. Give a more detailed explanation when possible.
- Show your expertise and be authoritative, but remain conversational. Speak in lay terms, and don’t use technical language or industry jargon.
- If the interview is for a print publication or being recorded for TV or radio, you can always stop and start over if you don’t particularly like what you’re saying. A simple, “Actually, let me rephrase that... ” is a sufficient transition. Of course, this does not work for a live interview.
- Avoid drinking caffeine or milk before an interview — both will dry out your mouth.
Going on camera?
- Wear dark colors like navy blue, gray and earth tones. Avoid black, red and white.
- Avoid stripes or busy patterns. Similarly, don’t wear flashy or jangly jewelry.
- If you’re seated, sit and lean slightly forward. You will appear taller, leaner and more attentive. If you’re wearing a blazer, sit on your coattails to avoid bunching.
- Do NOT look into the camera. Always look at the reporter or individual who is asking the questions.
- Do move your head and use normal hand gestures so as not to appear stiff and nervous.
- Keep your face relaxed, and smile when appropriate.