By Susan Carol Associates PR

The keys to a successful interview are making your position clear to the reporter and acting professionally.

Getting Off to a Good Start

When the reporter first calls…

  • Get the facts (reporter’s name, number, deadline and reason for call)
  • Get back to the reporter well before deadline

Preparing for the Interview

  • Know the subject.
  • Practice likely questions and your answers.
  • If the subject is controversial, imagine yourself remaining calm.
  • Consider visual aids or written materials for the reporter.

Interview Do’s

  • Get straight to the point, then expand on the subject.
  • Get your main point across.
  • Use simple language and avoid jargon.
  • Defer on answers you do not know.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Clarify comments that were misstated or misunderstood.
  • Try to promote a balanced perspective on controversial issues.
  • Stay on the record, even if the reporter is your best friend!
  • Offer to be available for follow-up questions.

Interview Don’ts

  • Never say “This is not a story.”
  • Never say “No Comment.”
  • Never ask to review the story in advance.

Television Tips

  • Don’t wear busy prints or white (uniforms excluded).
  • Relax. Treat this as a one-on-one conversation.
  • Try not to be interviewed against a white wall.
  • Try to answer in sound bites — brief, quotable statements.