media tips

5 Tips on How to Prepare for a Press Interview


By Natalie Maniscalco

Being able to properly communicate during an interview or presentation is extremely important for businesses.  First impressions matter!  You only get one shot to create a positive image. Just one interview can drastically change the course of your business – both positively and negatively.

I recommend clients do media training prior to interviews, especially if a business owner is not naturally a good communicator.  You will learn how to best be prepared, best techniques to avoid sticky situations and overall, how to feel more comfortable in front of a reporter or TV camera.  Learning the do’s and don’ts early on in the game can make all the difference.

  1. Stick to the K.I.S.S. rule – keep it short and sweet!  Prepare and practice three key talking points that you want to convey in the interview.  Keep them short but informational.  Think about the call to action and what you want readers/viewers to do once they see your interview.  This will absolutely impact the overall effects of the interview.
  2. Always be prepared.  Don’t go into the interview not knowing who you will be speaking to, what they are like and what the interview is going to be about.  Make sure you prepare your talking points in advance and either read past articles or watch past tv segments of the reporter you’ll be interviewing with to know how they are like.
  3. Pay Attention.  Stay focused on listening and answering THE question that is being asked.  When we get hold of an “important” ear, we tend to want to ramble on with every little detail, but much too often the core of the story can get lost.  So listen to what the reporter is answering and if appropriate, answer the question directly without giving too much information.
  4. Avoid unwanted questions.  For questions, you don’t want to answer, be prepared with a very simple answer and detour.  For example, if being asked about a personal issue that has no relevance to what you want to talk about, you might respond by saying, “While that may be interesting too, I really want to focus on what we are doing to impact the community in a positive way.”
  5. Dress to impress.  Always find out in advance how you should dress for the interview.  Solid colors are always best. Particularly gray or navy blue suits for men and vibrant solid colors for women.  Stay away from any busy patterns.  Never wear white or black as it will look very stagnant on TV.

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