Media interview

There are two types of interview: one in response to you contacting the press, for which you are probably prepared to some degree, the second is the type where you’re contacted unexpectedly by a member of the media. Whilst you can’t be prepared for the latter, don’t panic, you can buy time. Here are Barbara’s tips for being interviewed by the media.

Before the interview

If the journalist has called you on the phone, promise to call right back and take a few minutes to prepare your ground. Don’t take too long about it, new stories come along and you may be forgotten. Remember that journalists generally work at great speed and under intense pressure; they have to find a colourful angle to attract their audience. If you can help them with this it can bode well for future contact.

If you know an interview is coming up, prepare notes on the subject you will be talking about, identifying issues and subjects that will appeal most to the audience. You might have several points to make but at the very most your audience will remember two or three. The less you say, the more they’ll remember. Imagine yourself hearing the message for the first time and ask yourself whether it will overcome the ‘so what?’ barrier. If it doesn’t, is there another way you can present it?

During the interview

Follow the 3Cs principle:

Confidence

Clarity

Control

People love to be in the know, so where possible let the audience into a secret.

Use the ABCD technique:


A) Acknowledge and address the question (1 second), eg: yes, no, I don’t know, I’m not able to answer that.

B) Bridge (3 seconds), eg: but, however, what I can tell you is..., let’s be clear about this.

C) Control and clarity (30 seconds), eg: key messages from your interview brief.

D) Dangle, eg: what’s really interesting is...

Further tips