Being an effective interviewer is a critical part of being a successful candidate, elected official or senior leader. However, without proper preparation, doing an interview can be overwhelming and detrimental. This post contains a list of nine tips to help you do remote interviews effectively.
1. Listen to the Producer
Before every interview, you will be told the name and location of the station doing the interview, the interviewer's name, and whether the interview is live or live to tape. Consider if there are any relevant geographic issues that you need to incorporate into your talking points and stay away from mentioning the interviewer’s name.
2. Remember, It’s Only a Conversation
Keep in mind that the interview is only a conversation.Try to focus on this point prior to the beginning of the interview. There are plenty of mechanics to deal with in a live remote, but to the audience this is a conversation.
3. Ignore Distractions
Don’t be distracted by the technology in a live remote. There could be a lot going on in the background: a producer on the phone or a photographer speaking on a headset. However, it’s important for you to try to block out distractions and focus only on the interview.
4. Double-Check Your Earpiece
Before the interview starts, make sure you can clearly hear the anchor or producer. Most earpieces can be easily adjusted, so if you are having audio issues make sure you say something. If you lose audio during the interview, simply end your comment and wait for the producer’s cue.
5. Relax Beforehand
To help calm your nerves, prior to the interview, close your eyes for 30 seconds and relax your mind and body. If you’re anxious, focus on how successful the interview will turn out. Visualizing builds confidence and can help to quell anxiety.
6. Keep Answers Concise
You have a lot to get through in a limited amount of time. Keep your responses brief and to the point. News anchors do not like long-winded answers that overuse wonky jargon.
7. Take Chances
Producers look for sound bites that might make news on another broadcast. They want a lively show, not a formal presentation. If you feel like reacting, go right ahead. Natural, spontaneous reactions work the best.
8. Bridge To Your Message
Have several distinct sound bites in mind before the interview starts. When answering questions, make sure you bridge to your message by using expressions like, “that brings up…” or “another issue…”
9. Don’t Dwell on Mistakes
If you make a mistake, it’s not a big deal. Everyone makes mistakes in normal conversation. If you find yourself stumbling on air, slow down, take a breath, and let those mistakes roll off your back. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on it.
Reflections & Preparation
- Develop 3-5 talking points and practice saying them as if you were in an interview.
- Consider which 2-3 priorities you would like to highlight in a media interview and determine your sound bites that you will want to incorporate and can possibly use as bridge statements.
- Picture what a successful interview for you looks like. This will be good practice to help you calm your nerves when the time comes for the real thing.
Explore how to set yourself up for success as an elected leader.
- LEE Member Resource Library (check out the Communications folder in the Strategy Toolkit)
- Three Tips for Successful Media Interviews
- Best Practices: Utilizing Social Media to Increase Your Impact and Further Your Theory of Change
- Social Media Best Practices by Digital Platform
- 10 Best Practices to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media
- Communicating in Politically-Charged Times