December 10th, 2012
Media interviews can be tricky if you are not properly prepared. Here are our top tips for making the most of the opportunity to appear on TV or radio – even if the circumstances are difficult. Many points are also relevant to press interviews.
Know Your Ground
- What is the show in which you will appear?
- What subjects do they cover?
- How much time do they give?
- What type of interview?
- Crisis interviews
- Ideas selling interview
- Social interview
- Who will be interviewing you?
- Know your interviewer
- Understand their technique
- Listen to replays of their interviews online
- What is their approach?
- Combative – proving/disproving a specific point(s)
- Researched and guided
- Blank canvas
Know Your Message
- Consider your subject from a listener’s point of view
- Develop the points they will need/expect you to get across
- Know your success criteria (different for everyone)
- Message clear
- Sales enquiries (or at least website hits)
- No stupid remarks or embarrassing silences
- Feeling proud on watching/listening back
- Make bullet points of key issues – don’t script it
- How long have you got?
- What MUST you get over –
- Prioritise – Don’t try to put 10 minutes of content into a 5 minute interview
- Better to have 2 minutes properly explored
- Rehearse! Have someone ask you difficult (for you) questions and develop clear, authentic answers
Be In Good Shape on the Day
- Arrive in good time
- Be calm – use relaxation techniques
- Deep breathing
- Warm up your voice and face
- Eating beforehand – avoid anything that affects your voice
- Know your key points and be ready to express them freshly
- Don’t learn (or worse, try to read from) a script
- Be positive and control nerves
Aceing The Interview
- This is a performance –
- Entertain/engage as well as getting your point across
- TV/Radio interviewing is a conversation – be present not distracted
- Where appropriate, be upbeat and positive
- Avoid using negative sentence constructions
- Be a good interviewee – help the interviewer
- Have something to say
- Nothing worse than one word/one sentence answers
- Listen to the question
- Link your key points to the question
- Sometimes that may require a bridge from the question into your point
- Interviewer should say much less than interviewee
- Stick to the point –
- One answer, one point
- Don’t explore the byways
- Don’t ramble or tell questionable stories
- Keep an eye on time
- Build rapport with interviewer
- Don’t antagonise the interviewer
- Better on side than against you
- e.g. Paxman and Chloe Smith after the fuel duty rise was cancelled:
- Compare with Paxman and Boris Johnson (don’t try this at home!)
- Respect for interviewer – especially true for pre-recording where they control the edit!
Getting Asked Back
- Take an interest in the presenter, the station and the audience
- Give value
- Entertain and inform the audience
- Be engaging – to the presenter and the audience
- Help the presenter by being available and easy to talk to
- Be memorable – in the right way!