On November 4th, Les Fugate, RunSwitch PR’s Senior Vice President joined a local cable network TV station for live commentary and analysis of the mid-term election results. This live appearance was essentially an extended live interview, perhaps one of the most challenging kinds of interviews an executive or company spokesperson will face.
Below, Les shares step-by-step tips that will help you prepare (and master) your next live interview.
- Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Luckily for me, I already knew a great deal about the important races on the ballot in 2014, but even then I spent hours researching and becoming an expert on the topic. You, too, must be an expert on the topic you are discussing.
- Sketch it out. Write out a list of questions you anticipate will be asked. It is important to include even the toughest questions so that you are prepared for anything.
- Know your key messages & always go back to them. It is easy to get thrown off topic, but if you know precisely the messages you want to get across to the audience, you can always steer any question to the topics you want to discuss. When media training our clients, we often refer to this as “bridging.”
- Understand your interviewer. Make sure you know how he or she approaches interviews, his or her background, and of course any biases he or she might have. This information is important to consider as you sketch out the questions you think will be asked.
- Dress for Success. Make sure you wear appropriate attire for your interview. Don’t wear clothes that will distract from the message you want to deliver. No matter how much you love it or how great you think it makes you look, leave your neon green paisley shirt at home.
- Ignore the Camera. Paying attention to your interviewer—not the camera—lends to a more natural, conversational interview. Make eye contact with your interviewer and remember that your body language will communicate just as much (and sometimes more) than your words will.
- Don’t fear silence. An interviewer may use silence as a tool to push you to say something you may later regret. Be comfortable with the silence and use it to focus back on the key messages you want to deliver. And, when asked a question, take time to gather your thoughts and respond when you are ready.
- The mic is always on. Don’t say anything that you don’t want repeated (or Tweeted, or potentially posted to YouTube). Most of the time, microphones are recording everything you say and just because you aren’t “live” doesn’t mean it won’t be aired.
With these tips, you will have a solid foundation for a successful live interview. And when you’re ready to reach unprecedented success and take your interview preparation and media training to the next level, turn to RunSwitch. Over the years, RunSwitch has trained countless executives, politicians, and spokespeople for the even the most challenging interview environments.