Ten Tips for Giving an Interview
If a reporter is on hold on your phone, in your lobby or on the way over, take three deep breaths, visualize a calm place (the beach usually works for us) and consider the following:
- An interview is NOT a conversation – the only one “sharing” is you, so you control the message!
- Honesty is the ONLY policy – if you cannot tell the truth for matters of confidentiality, say so and move to another item of interest for the reporter.
- People remember the ANSWER, not the question. Rephrasing a bad (or negative question) only underscores the issue. Start the answer with a positive statement and move on to the issue (or to another issue.)
- Turn a negative into positive (Consider the difference it might have made had former President Nixon said “I have been completely honest with the American people” and not “I am not a crook”; although then refer back to point #2 and #3.)
- Never say “No comment” – use the opportunity to make a point that is positive, even if it does not address the question asked.
- Nothing is “off the record” – understand the reporter has a job to do.
- Speak in sound bites – short, complete thoughts – to make yourself quote-worthy.
- If you are finished, stop! Make your point and then wait for the reporter to lead into the next question. Silence sometimes really is golden.
- When returning calls, call the least important publication first in order to get your bearings.
- When in even the slightest doubt, call a professional. In an age when the public has immediate access to news, obtain the guidance of people who know how best TO prepare.
For more information, contact a.s.a.p.r. at 443-944-9301