Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TV interview tips

Your public relations professional just scored a TV interview for you -- congratulations! Now what?

Let's take a look at how you can shine and represent your organization effectively.

First, get some background information on the reporter or the TV show. Look at some previous interviews -- is the reporter generally hard-hitting, or relatively neutral? It's good to have a feel for the reporter's personality.

Second, prepare by developing and practicing two or three key messages or major points. Know what you want to communicate -- think of this as the headline or news hook.

According to presentation and media trainer Mary Milla of What's Your Point?, TV interviews differ from radio or newspaper interviews in a couple of key ways:
  • A broadcast soundbite runs nine to 15 seconds. In order to not get misquoted, Milla recommends limiting your answers to 75 words (about 30 seconds).
  • TV interviews typically are short, and the reporters are generally not well-versed in the topic.
Finally, be energetic! In the interview, answer the reporter's questions with energy and enthusiasm. That helps you to come across as credible. (Just don't go overboard like Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch!)

Oh, and by the way, everything is on the record. Be careful with what you say; if you don't want something to be used, don't say it. And don't say "no comment" -- it just leaves the impression of guilt. Good luck!
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