Don’t be Caught like a Deer in Headlights

Facing a media interview can be daunting but there is no need to be caught like a deer in headlights.  Preparation is the key to minimising or eliminating the element of surprise.  Here are five tips to help you to be interview ready.

 

  1. Set your objectives. Decide beforehand what you want to achieve out of the interview.  It doesn’t matter if you instigated the interview or if a journalist approached you.  If you plan to go ahead, you need to first determine your objectives, otherwise it will be a nice story for the media but a complete waste of time for you.
  2. Determine your key messages. You only need 1-3 key messages, no more or you will just confuse your audience. These messages must be concise, clear and readily understood.  Think of it in terms of if you only had one opportunity, what would you say to your audience.  This is essential preparation before any interview.  If you don’t have your key messages ready, all you would have achieved is answering the journalist’s questions.
  3. Prepare for the worst. Don’t be fooled into thinking you will only be asked the questions you want to answer.  Think about the questions you fear will be asked and plan your answers ahead of the interview.
  4. Do your research. Before you are interviewed, the journalist will no doubt have researched you and the organisation you represent, but do you know who they are?  Before jumping into any interview do your research on the media outlet and the journalist, in particular, read articles they have written in the past.  It will help you their reporting style but more importantly, it could give you a good insight into how the interview might play out.
  5. Practice questions and answers in front of the mirror, a camera or a colleague.   It is a case of perception versus reality – this is the only way you will ever truly know how you are going to come across in an interview.

 

Unsure if you are ‘interview-ready’?  Get help from a professional.   Media training will not only help you build interview skills but it will also give you the confidence you need to tackle any interview.