3 Cs of a good interview:

  1. Confidence. Keep your cool.
    1. Determine story angle.
    2. Research reporter's beat and reputation.
    3. Practice.
    4. Expect the unexpected. Think of the worst possible question and prepare for it.
  2. Conciseness. Don't say more than you want or need to say. Stay on message.
    1. Develop 10-15 second sound bites.
    2. Create simple sentences that can stand on their own.
    3. Practice.
    4. Know when to stop. Don't be trapped by reporter's moment of silence.
    5. Yes and no answers are okay if applicable.
  3. Consistency. The more a reporter hears your message, the greater chance it will be used in the story.
    1. Repeat your messages.
    2. Answer the question the way you want.
    3. Avoid the hypothetical.

Other items:

  • Don't forget importance of non-verbal communication (body gestures, clothing, hairstyle, make-up).
  • If you can't fit your message on a 3x5 index card, it's not worth saying.
  • Small talk prior to and after an interview are "on the record."
  • Be aware of wireless microphones.
  • Women: Sit with your legs together, only cross them if you're wearing pants. Don't move your head a lot. Wear the same color top and bottom.
  • Sit up, sit closer to edge of chair and don't lean back.
  • Avoid barriers (like a desk) between interviewer and interviewee.
  • Don't cross your arms.
  • Invite reporter to your turf, you'll be more comfortable.
  • Check the area where the interview will take place to make sure sensitive or confidential information is not visible.

Recommended resource books:

  • "On Deadline: Managing Media Relations," by Carole M. Howard and Wilma K. Mathews.
  • "Mike Fright: How to Succeed in Media Interviews When Mike Wallace Comes Calling," by David Snell.
  • "Soundbites: A Business Guide to Working With the Media," by Kathy Kerchner.

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