How to Master a Media Interview
April 26th 2016
If there’s anything we can take away from this Silly Season, it’s the power of a good – or bad – media interview.
A conversation with a journalist requires a careful approach. While an upcoming interview might seem overwhelming or daunting, a few easy tips can help wrap your head around what to expect.
Prepare: There’s no such thing as being overly prepared for a media interview. Know you audience, research the interviewer / host / media outlet and brush up on industry trends so you can comfortably reference them for a more dynamic conversation.
Pro tip: Follow the journalist’s social media channels in advance.
Identify three key messages that you want to make sure to get across in the interview and find a way to deliver those messages in a way that anyone can understand them.
Practice answering tough questions. Think of what’s going to make you uncomfortable and work through it so you’re actually most comfortable when answering these questions.
Keep it simple and short. Concise responses and messages will keep you focused and minimize the opportunity to go off tangent. Plus, it’ll allow you to take deep breaths in between the questions.
Pro tip: Make sure to have a glass or bottle of water nearby to prevent dry mouth, coughing, etc.
Smile and be confident. Everyone can sense the nerves, which will come across to the audience. If you’re selected to be interviewed, you should be the expert, so act like it! After all, no one knows your perspective better than you do.
Practice. Did I say Practice yet? Practice in front of a mirror – watch your facial expressions; record yourself to hear what you sound like and listen for clues that you need to practice more (i.e. did you say one word too many times…“um”, “like”, “really”, etc.) so you can be as eloquent and descriptive as possible while also sounding professional.
If you don’t know an answer, don’t make one up. Use a bridge statement to get you back on track to one of your key messages.
Arrive early, turn off your cell phone and eliminate any distractions so you can be fully present for the interview.
And remember….don’t let your guard down. Everything is on the record, especially with social media, so be mindful of giving personal opinions, adding in jargon or slang and mentioning a competitor. Anything and everything can be used against you if you’re not careful.
Be nice to everyone. A polite greeting to the camera person can go a long way in getting a little extra attention in ensuring he or she is making you look good.
By Agatha Capacchione
Agatha is an SVP at Mfa, with a sophisticated and diverse marketing background spanning clients in the worlds of travel, wellness, design, social good, fashion, and technology. She excels at conceptualizing and implementing creative communications programs that deliver for all of her partners while driving her team to provide inspiring, fully-integrated strategies.