“Being interviewed by the media is a performance. The very thought may make you nervous. Before you’re interviewed, know exactly what you want to say,” says Rick Frishman, co-author of “Guerrilla Publicity” (Adams Media).
Frishman insists that all his clients at Planned TV Arts, a New York public relations firm, undergo preparation and training before they’re interviewed. “No director,” he says, “would send an untrained, unrehearsed actor on stage. In PR, we’re the directors and our clients are the actors. Our clients must know their lines and how to deliver them, or the audience will get up and leave.”
Here, Frishman and his co-authors, Jill Lublin and Jay Conrad Levinson, share their best advice on how to prepare for a media interview:
Write down the five main points you want to cover.
List anecdotes, facts, or jokes that help you make each point effectively.
Anticipate the questions interviewers are likely to ask and prepare answers that include your main points. It helps to study the host’s prior interviews to find his/her favorite questions and approaches so you’ll know what to expect and how to respond.
Keep answers and explanations simple. Complex information tends to lose or bore interviewers and audiences.
Never try to steal the limelight from the host or interviewer. Your job is to make him or her look good while getting your main points across.
Practice by having friends and family pretend they’re the interviewer and question you.
When you practice, videotape yourself or stand in front of a mirror to observe your performance. Be conscious of your posture, facial expressions and gestures. Ask your interviewer to honestly appraise your performance.
When friends and family aren’t available to help, interview yourself out loud.