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How to Prepare for a Media Interview

Learn how to prepare for a media interview from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.


So how do you prepare for a media interview? Let's say it's 9:00 A.M, and the reporter calls, and asks to speak to you and interview you on a particular subject. Don't just say, 'Yeah. I'd be happy to do the interview right now.' Instead, ask the reporter what the deadline is and what the topic is. If the reporter says that the deadline is at 2:00 P.M., say, 'No problem. I'll call you back by 11:00.'

What you then need to do is brainstorm on every possible message point you could say on this topic. Get a blank sheet of paper, a notebook pad, or a computer screen. Write every single possible message point out. Then put them in priority, from most important to least important. Anything that's not in your top three, get rid of it.

Once you've isolated these top three messages put that on a single sheet of paper. That's what you need to focus on for the interview. But you're not ready yet for the interview.

You've now got to brainstorm on sound bites for each message point. A sound bite has something memorable. It's not just the abstract, straight forward, message point. A sound bite is going to have an analogy, a bold action word, a cliche, some emotion, an absolute. You need these elements to flesh out your message point.

Now you're ready to rehearse your interview. And let's say there's nobody around. You should still rehearse on video and it could be as simple as holding out your cell phone, putting the video record on, asking yourself questions, recording it, and then watching it. Even if you're not doing a TV interview this is helpful.

Then watch your practice on video. Make sure you're comfortable with your answers, that you've got three messages, that you've got good sound bites. Then, and only then, should you call the reporter back and do the interview.

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