25 Tips for a Great Media Interview

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25 Tips for a Great Media Interview

(Los Angeles) — While every reporter, every interview and every situation is different, there are some basic rules to follow that can make the difference between a great interview and one you’d rather forget. We have taken the best of what we’ve learned from arranging thousands of interviews over the years and put them into 25 simple tips that anyone can use. In fact, we suggest you print, keep and re-read them before every interview because, as Coach John Wooden once said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” (And we don’t want you to fail.)

Here are 25 tips for a great media interview:

  • Make sure you are doing the interview at a time and location that are convenient and comfortable for you.
  • Determine before the interview those three to four most important things you want to say, and then make sure to cover all of those.
  • Give brief but adequate answers. The reporter will tell you if they want more.
  • Speak in concise, quotable sentences; think “sound bites.”
  • State the most important facts first.
  • Don’t volunteer negative information. While you must be truthful and honest, it is not your role to give a balanced story.
  • Speak clearly and simply.
  • Avoid industry jargon.
  • Give examples or anecdotes.
  • Speak at a pace that will allow the reporter to follow you.
  • Take the initiative by bringing up things you think are important.
  • Don’t view the relationship as adversarial, but rather as a great opportunity to tell your story.
  • Keep control over where the interview is going.
  • Be as helpful and pleasant as possible.
  • Remember that you retain the ultimate right to what you do/don’t say.
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask the reporter to repeat it.
  • Keep notes in front of you including supporting, background materials.
  • If you can’t divulge information, say so and say why.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so and volunteer to find the answer.
  • Question false statements or inaccurate information, but don’t get into an argument with the reporter.
  • If the interview is face to face, be aware of your body language.
  • Come across enthusiastic, confident, positive and direct. Smile, even on the phone.
  • Don’t promise anything “exclusive.”
  • Remember you are always on the record.
  • Never lie.
By | 2017-06-22T20:43:09+00:00 January 22, 2015|

About the Author:

Michelle Hokr brings to Kevin/Ross more than two decades of experience in healthcare public relations and corporate communications. Her areas of expertise include employee communications, community relations, publication management and crisis communication.