Are you about to be interviewed by a reporter? It can be a bit unnerving, but here are some tips that might help.
• Most importantly, don’t wing it! I don’t care how much you know your subject, in the moment of the interview you won’t remember everything. Write down the key points you want to make, print them out, and have the sheet of paper in front of you.
Think about the questions the reporter will ask and be prepared. There’s the specific subject of the interview, but there’s also context, information about you and/or your company, something about your industry-really think it through.
One of my clients knew Pope John Paul II, and he will be interviewed in April when the Pope is canonized. I have prepared interview sheets for my client that include a chronology of his relationship with the Pope (dates and what happened when), bullet points about the Pope’s life and career, and quotes that my client has given over the years to newspapers that he might want to repeat. He will be prepared.
Your goal is to appear knowledgeable about your subject and self confident. Be prepared!
• Stand up when you talk to the reporter. It sounds simple, but people sound more alert and self confident when they speak standing up vs. sitting down!
• Get rest, go for a walk, eat (especially protein) - whatever helps you be at your alert best.
• Try to be interviewed at the time of day that works best for you. I know I’m at my best in the morning, and that late afternoon is a challenge. See if you can work with the reporter to arrange your interview during the best time of day for you.
• Don’t let yourself be rushed. If you are being interviewed off site somewhere, allow plenty of time to get there and plan to arrive early. Being rushed only adds to anxiety. I have a habit of getting lost when I have to drive to a new place, so I always allow extra time. If you’re being interviewed by phone, stop multi-tasking so you’re calm when the reporter calls!
• If you’re at home or in your office for the interview, check your environment. This is especially directed to women who are sensitive in this area. Are there dishes in the sink? Is the place a mess? For me, half my brain is worrying about such things when I’m talking to people. Sounds silly, but it’s true. So don’t be interviewed in a place that’s causing you worry. Do the dishes.
• If you’re being interviewed off site somewhere, dress in something that makes you comfortable and happy. I know no one can see you except the reporter, but this will contribute to a positive attitude.
• If you're nervous, PRACTICE! Have a conversation with yourself, imagining the questions a reporter might ask.
• Do NOT have a glass of wine or anything else to “relax you.” Believe it or not some people do this, and it’s a bad idea. It shows.
What else puts you in a good mood? Do it! You want to come across as happy and, again, self confident and knowledgeable.
I hope these few tips have helped!
Good luck with the interview!