BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
- Re-familiarise yourself with your key messages and have them with you, printed on a single sheet of paper so you can easily and discreetly reference them if needed.
- Draft and rehearse an opening statement. To paraphrase one of the great modern poets of our time (Eminem), “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance” to come out of the gates strong and nail your key message. The unpredictability of a live interview means it can be easily derailed by talkback callers, technical glitches or other parties speaking off-topic.
- Don’t be afraid to call the shots before the camera starts rolling. Keep control of the interview by setting a time limit and outlining any other conditions such as off-limit topics or questions. The moment? You own it. (Yes, Eminem again)
- Be ready to go five minutes before the interview. This gives you time to take a few deep breaths, centre yourself and re-read your key messages. You may be nervous but on the surface, you look calm and ready (OK, we’re sending Slim Shady back to 8 Mile).
DURING THE INTERVIEW
- Loop in your key messages every chance you get.
- Adapt the wording of your messages and language to the target audience and media outlet. For instance, a bright and breezy segment on Studio 10 will call for a lighter touch and simpler language than, say, a panel appearance on Q&A.
- Draw on examples to support your key messages such as stories, statistics and studies.
- Make sure you get the last word and drop one final key message into the end of the interview with a simple: “Can I leave you with this thought…”