Interviews are surprisingly short, so it’s not uncommon to spend hours preparing for an interview that may only last a few minutes. Duration aside, the more prepared you are, the more professional you’ll come across and the more likely you’ll be asked back again (which of course leads to even more wonderful opportunities!).
These tips will help to refine and perfect your preparation.
Prepare your answers
Imagine the specific questions you’re likely to be asked, and prepare some really great, energetic answers. For example, if you’re a soloist web designer, you’re likely to be asked questions about effective web design, so have some interesting answers ready to go.
Also, having practiced answers under your belt is useful for on-the-spot interviews, or interviews with a short lead time.
Do background research
Let’s say a radio producer calls and asks you to be interviewed, ask the following questions:
- Who is the audience ? (you need to know who you are talking to)
- What is the approximate duration of the interview ? (This is a really important question, because it dictates how long your answers should be.)
- Is there a theme for the show, or is it part of something bigger like “Small Business Awareness Week”?
Do some research
It’s important to research the show, magazine or business website that you’ll be appearing in/on. I do this so that I can get a feel for the flavour of the interview, and in the case of a publication, how long an article might be.
Write down notes
I refer to key points when I’m actually doing the interview, which of course is easier to do on radio than TV, but I’ve done it on TV as well – I just glance down whenever necessary.
Always allow enough time
If you’re travelling to an interview, always arrive at least 15 minutes early so that you can stay relaxed. There’s nothing worse than being stressed out for an interview!
Use the interviewer’s name
Write down the interviewer’s name on a notepad, and use it periodically throughout the interview. Like, “Thank you Lucinda, I appreciate you asking that”. It actually turns an interview into a friendly, vibrant conversation.
Drop everything and focus
Don’t try to do an interview while running down the road to the next meeting or while checking messages. You’ll come across as either rushed or distracted, both of which reflect badly on you.
If you’re an author, take your book along
When I’m being interviewed about one of my books, the interviewer will generally make reference to something I wrote on a particular page, so I always have a ‘media’ copy that contains useful, hand-written notes throughout it.
Adequate preparation can mean the difference between a brilliant interview and a beige one. Once you’ve prepared, simply let your soloist passion shine. You’ll win over the interviewer and audience alike, which can only be good for business!
How do you prepare for media interviews?