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How to improve your interview performance with the press

By Nicholas Newman 

Being interviewed by the media is increasingly commonplace for any business seeking to promote itself. So getting it right is important. You’re not only presenting yourself, but also your business!

Here are some tips about how you can improve your interview performance with the media.

Always:

  • Always prepare beforehand – ask yourself: why you are giving an interview e.g. is it to promote the firm, announce the winning of an award or some other news.
  • In order to prepare try using a digital recorder to rehearse and hear how you sound.
  • Find out if the journalist has been given a line of questioning to follow e.g. the challenges facing local business, an advertorial etc.
  • Always ask beforehand for a copy of the questions and be prepared for the journalist to ask additional questions.

Do:

  1. It is often useful to have a general background talk about the topics you wish to discuss before going on to the interview.
  2. Look for other published work by the journalist interviewing you, as it will give you a better understanding of what the journalist needs as information.
  3. Be prepared for the interview to be recorded.
  4. Keep your responses to the point and concise, avoid jargon where possible.
  5. Establish the readership market of the publication e.g. Sun readers will be interested in different things from chief financial officers.
  6. Ensure that you speak clearly, precisely and slow enough for the journalist to take notes.
  7. Talk in a conversational style, not a lecture style, since you are telling a story.
  8. Provide some useful insights in your answers.
  9. Answer the questions you are prepared to answer.
  10. Appreciate that the journalist’s agenda isn’t necessarily the same as your own.
  11. Research the publication and its style / tone before you meet him or her.
  12. Be positive, upbeat and enthusiastic about what you do.
  13. Do ask for sight of the interview before it is published, to check the facts and prevent any misunderstandings, especially useful when it is a complex topic.

Don’t:

  1. Do not tell the journalist anything that is commercially secret.
  2. Do not go into an interview unprepared. Always know your key messages and ensure they are tailored to the publication’s audience.
  3. Once you have finished answering a question stop speaking. Don’t waffle on.
  4. Do not forget to speak to the media, it is a useful way to promote your organisation.

Extras:

  1. Have details of your website available
  2. Provide a link to some images of you doing something at work, like discussing plans or receiving an award etc.
  3. Provide a link to your Linkedin profile.

For further information about my corporate journalism services contact  https://www.nicnewmanoxford.com/copy-writing/

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