10 tips for flawless interviews

Do your homework, relax and speak slowly, and stay on message. Easier said than done. Here’s how to succeed.

Ragan Insider Content

Although earning media coverage has change radically during the past decade, how to prepare for TV interviewer questions has remained almost unchanged.

These tips arise from 20 years of working for media companies and as a public relations pro. Follow these tips, and your 15 seconds of fame will be well worth the prep time:

1. Develop a “touchstone.” A primary reason to be interviewed is to get a message out. For example, if you are interviewed about a new medical procedure, an option is to discuss organization’s commitment to quality: “At Hospital X, bringing new and innovative procedures is how we improve care…” If you are promoting a book or product, refer to it in your answers: “As I write in chapter three…”

2. Avoid email interviews whenever possible. To build a relationship with a reporter there should be dialogue, either face to face or on the phone.

3. Listen first. When the reporter is not on a pressing deadline, ask what the scope of the interview will be, what background information the reporter has, and what you can provide prior to the interview.

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