danibu-NEWS_blog item_9-journalist-rules

There is no substitute for a good conversation – with whoever. But, interviews are not conversations: It’s the media’s opportunity to get a story. Your job is to tell your story, your way – you don’t have to answer the question asked!

To improve your media skills, you need to prepare, prepare, prepare! I’ve said it 3 times because it’s THAT important! Even if you do interviews frequently, you’ll benefit from rehearsal: Practicing bridging and flagging techniques, trying out answers to tough questions, or simply hearing the words come out of your mouth. Have a colleague role play as the reporter and ask you a few questions while you go through the 9 golden rules for interview preparedness:

  1. Never lie
  2. Never say “no comment”
  3. There is no “off the record”, so you can better ask “Can I see the quotes before you use them? When’s your deadline? Do you need pictures?”
  4. Be short, get to the point and always think of the audience
  5. Stay confident and look at the interviewer (you don’t have anything to hide, do you?). When seated, lean forward slightly. This posture will give you a sense of energy and make you look like an active storyteller, rather than a passive person who is there just to answer questions.
  6. Use simple language, avoid jargon, bridge and flag where appropriate: “Is there a particular angle you want to take, or should we just talk generally?” “Would you be interested in talking about …?”
  7. Stay in control. Remember you’re doing the interview because you have a story to tell. Stick to your position, no matter how many times they ask.
  8. Don’t speculate: It’s OK to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”.
  9. Relax! In the end, reporters want to talk with people who sound like regular human beings. They don’t want to interview people who merely sound like they are reading a press release or prepared statement.