10 tips to help you ace a media interview

Always go in with a plan, avoid technical answers and beware “gotcha questions.”

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Businesspeople often mistakenly assume that because they know their companies, industries and products so well, they can handle a media interview. But even the most sure-footed spokesman can bomb an interview when he doesn’t plan properly. A little media training goes a long way, and you should consider it an investment in yourself.

Here are 10 tips that will prevent you from stumbling and making a poor impression in your next interview:

1. Make a plan for the interview.

What would you like to see in the resulting media coverage? What two or three key messages do you want to relay?

If you go into an interview and just answer questions without a thought for what you want the audience to know, you yield control of the interview to the journalist. Be prepared and know in advance what your goals are for the interview.

2. Ask the question you want to answer.

Don’t wait for the reporter to ask the question you want to answer. She might not ask it. Instead, segue into the topic you want to discuss. For example:

3. Avoid technical answers.

When you talk above people’s heads, you drive them away. Answer as simply as possible, and without jargon.

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