7 Things You Should Not Do in a Media Interview

microfoniAS a PR consultant, one aspect of my job is organising media interviews for clients. Whether it’s for a newspaper, TV or radio, a media interview is an excellent opportunity to generate free publicity for your company and promote your services, products or key messages. Although some people love being interviewed, it’s not uncommon for others to get nervous. What should they say? What should they wear? Where should they look? Here is a list of things you should NOT do in an interview: Don’t be unprepared. Prior to your interview, ask the journalist for a list of topics/questions that will be covered. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the subject and have all the information you need. Finally, make sure you are well acquainted with your company’s key messages. Don’t overperform. Although it’s important to convey your company’s key message, you don’t want to sound like you are giving your ‘elevator pitch’. Avoid acronyms and jargon. Just be yourself, act professionally and answer each question directly and concisely. Don’t lie or speculate. If you don’t know the answer to a question, never lie, guess or speculate. It’s better to come clean and admit that you don’t have the answer at hand right now, but you’ll get someone to get back to them immediately. Don’t say um. When on TV, speak slowly and clearly and avoid saying um and ah. Remember to smile, relax and project warmth. Don’t fidget or make sudden movements. If you are being interviewed for television, the slightest movement is magnified x 10. An interviewee who fidgets frequently may come across as being uncomfortable or trying to hide something. Sit up straight, keep your hands in your lap and be still (it won’t last too long!). Don’t look at the monitor. Remember to maintain eye contact with a TV journalist at all times and don’t look at the monitors around you. Don’t get angry. A journalist may ask a question or make a statement that is designed to get a reaction from you. It’s important not to rise to the bait and get flustered or upset. Bridge to something positive instead.  Keep these tips in mind before your interview and you’ll be fine. Good luck!