Ten interview pro tips from the media trainer
You are about to be interviewed? Nervous? You propbably should be. There are quite a few pitfalls to avoid. Agency’s founder and senior advisor Niclas Lövkvist has helped hundreds of spokespeople, executives and celebrities to deal with more or less difficult interview situations. Here is Niclas’ top ten advice that hopefully will will make your own interview a better experience.
1. Always prepare. Hundreds of thousands of people will read your words or listen to what you have to say. And the internet never forgets. So it may just be smart to really really think through what you want to say, right?
2. An interview is not a school examination. This means you should focus on preparing your messages, not to learn all details and answers to possible questions. There is simply no way to know what the journalist will actually ask. But you can learn your mesages really well.
3. Make all demands and requests before the interview. Perhaps you will talk about a complicated or sensitive subject and only will agree to the interview if you can see the text before publication. Tell them that. Before the interview. Legally you do not have any right to influence a text or a news item before publication, but in real life the chances are quite good. At least if your demands are reasonable.
4. Chose the right place and dress the part. There is a great difference between doing an interview under the chandeliers at Grand Hôtel or at the local McDonald’s. Everything communicates. Even your choice of tie or dress. Use that to your advantage.
5. Expect to be filmed. TV is everywhere today. Doing an interview for radio may very well involve a filmed interview as well. If you prepare for TV – messages, clothing, location and so on – it will propably work for all kind of media. But not the other way around.
6. Tell your most important messages straight away. To wait for a “suitable” question to match to your message is not a wise strategy. The risk is high that you may still be standing there waiting to say all the good things you prepared when the journalist has already left for the news room.
7. Do not be a parrot. If you keep on repeating your messages and talking points time after time you will only send one clear message: that you do not respect the journalist and his or her audience. The trick is to both show respect and deliver your messages. Sounds hard? It is. Luckly there are people like me that can teach you how to do it.
8. But do repeat your most important messages. An interview is not a normal situation. This means you can – and should – do things you normally never would do. Such as repeating the same thing you have already said once, or perhaps twice. Repetition will increase the chances of the message being used in the edited interview. But beware of the parrot.
9. Be engaged! If you do not show people that you have something important to say, why should they bother? There is always someone else to look at one zap away on the remote. We judge people and what they represent by how they say things, not just what the say. Showing emotions is good. It’s even absolutely necessary sometimes, not least in crisis communication.
NICLAS LÖVKVIST, senior advisor & CEO