Perfecting the Art of TV Interviews

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Nancy Fullbright's picture
Nancy Fullbright

Here are six tips for your next interview that will help keep you from stumbling and making a poor impression:

1)      Make a plan for your interview. What would you like to see in the resulting media coverage? What two or three key messages do you want to relay?

2)     Monitor your body language. Before you begin to speak, smile at the interviewer to establish a rapport. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview and keep an "open," friendly face. Communicate total enthusiasm and involvement in your subject.

3)      Make sure the question you want to be asked is asked, even if you have to ask it yourself. Don’t wait until the reporter asks you the question you want to answer. Use another question or bridging phrase to segue into the topic you want to discuss. For example, “What really matters is ____.” Or “The most important issue is ______,” or “The more interesting question is______.”

4)      Stay away from answers that are too technical.  When you talk above people’s heads, you drive them away. Answer as simply as possible, without jargon.

5)      Stick to what a reporter asks and what you want to say. There’s no need to volunteer additional information. More is not better. Answer questions briefly.

6)      If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. There’s nothing wrong with saying you don’t know, that there hasn’t been a decision yet, or that you aren’t sure of the answer and need to check and will get back to the journalist.

 

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