Doing an interview, whether for print, video, or audio can be a daunting proposition. Whether the interview is for a newspaper, a podcast, a TV channel, a blog, or any other form of media, it can be intimidating to go through this process. Here are a few tips to get help you give a great interview and get yourself in the media.
Tip 1. Know what you’re going to say before the interview.
For example, if you are doing an interview about an event, be prepared for general questions such as, “What is this event about?” “Why did you decide to put on this event?” or “What will go on at this event?” If your business is being featured, think about how to explain what your business does and how in a few short sentences. Interviewers like sound byte sized quotes. If it takes you anymore than a 60 seconds to describe yourself, your business, or your event, you’ve got to work on it.
Bad: “So this event is about, uh, like, friendship? And we did it because we like friendship.”
Good: “Tonight’s event is about the power of friendship. We decided to put it on to celebrate our friends, near and far, and bring the entire community together.”
Tip 2. Be excited.
Even if this is a print interview where your enthusiasm won’t directly relate to the viewer like in an audio interview or a video interview, the person interviewing you can relate your feelings into words. If you are doing an audio or video interview it’s especially important that you look and sound lively and energetic. If you’re not excited about your business or event, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Bad: “Yeah, so this event is nice. I mean, I think it’s going to be fun. We’ve done some things to make it fun. So I hope it’s fun.”
Good: “This is event is going to be great! Everyone has worked very hard to make sure it’s a fantastic time for all attendees.”
Tip 3. Always answer questions in complete sentences.
This will make a better quote and easier sound byte for the publication. Also, sometimes the interviewer’s questions are not audible in the video or audio. Use this rule of thumb: if they cut out the question completely, will your answer still make sense?
Bad: Q. “What is tonight’s event about?” A. “It’s about friendship.”
Good: Q. “What is tonight’s event about?” A. “Tonight’s event is about friendship.”
Tip 4. Be conscious of the microphone.
If you’re doing audio or video and you’re new to using microphones, ask the interviewer if they have any special instructions on how to use or hold the microphone. Generally, you want the microphone to be about 6 inches from your mouth. Don’t hold the microphone next to your belly button. Also, don’t wave the microphone around or try to punctuate your sentences with it.
Tip 5. Present yourself confidently (even if you don’t feel that confident).
Interviewers understand that not everyone is overjoyed to be interviewed and their subjects might be unfamiliar with the process. If you spend the interview eyeing the door, answering questions in as few words as possible, and looking miserable, the end result will be you look like you can’t stand talking about the event, product, or business that you’re working on. It’s fine if you don’t want to do an interview and have someone else present the information, but if you do it yourself, be aware of your body language and facial expressions.
Tip 6. Say something.
The only kind of interview I really can’t work with is one where the subject doesn’t say anything. When being asked an open-ended question, make a solid statement about it. Don’t give me two words.
Bad example: Q. “What is your event tonight about?” A. “Friendship.”
Good example: Q. “What is your event tonight about?” A. “My event is about the beauty of friendship and how this powerful force brings people together. We here in Ponyville believe that friendship is magic.”
Tip 7. Relax!
When doing soft news stories, such as local events, community interests, and highlighting businesses, the interviewer is not going to grill you. The interviewer wants you to give a good interview so they can deliver a good piece of media. If you have any anxieties about what they’re going to ask, check with the interviewer first. Unless you’ve been charged with killing puppies, don’t assume the interviewer is out to trip you up or make you sound silly.
These are just a few tips on how to give a great interview. As you give more interviews, you will improve your skills. If you have any questions, your interviewer is most likely be happy to answer. Remember, they want you to give a good interview so they have a piece of compelling media.
Go forth and interview with confidence!