Dos and Don’ts of an Interview

By Jamie Hooker

Awesome! You’ve secured a T.V. interview. This is a great opportunity to get great coverage and to spread the word about your organization. You’ll just sit down with a reporter, in front of a camera, possibly live, likely with thousands of people watching.  To some, this is a walk in the park. To others (the majority of us), this is scary. Talking in front of a camera can be nerve-wracking, but it’s ok. We have some easy tips to remember for the next time you land a T.V. placement that will help you get through an interview successfully.


Review your key messages over and over again. Having three messages engrained in your brain before an interview takes away the worry of fumbling over your words or trying to think what to say. Also, be ready to answer the hard questions if you’re anticipating them.

Be concise. Your interview will most likely be between two to five minutes, which will fly by.  Don’t get hung up on information that can easily be answered online or things that just aren’t relevant to the interview.

Be natural and calm. I can be difficult, but try and imagine it’s just you and the reporter having a normal conversation. The reporter wanted an interview because they think you’re organization or product is interesting, so just focus on talking about what you know. You’re the expert!



Don’t think “off the record” means off the record. Reporters are allowed to run whatever you say, so you can never be too careful. Also, if you are hooked up with a microphone, remember that you are! It could be a PR nightmare if you were to say something you thought was in private, when in reality it was heard loud and clear.

Don’t be distracting in your movement. This might include moving your hands all over the place or fidgeting in your seat. If you’re standing up, make sure to stay balanced and not to shift your weight to one side. If you’re sitting, don’t bounce your knee up and down. These things seem obvious, but a lot of times you don’t even realize you’re doing them.

If you’ll be appearing on T.V., be conscious of what you choose to wear. Avoid stripes and small designs. These are hard for the camera to pick up and can be distracting to the viewers. Wearing loud or excessive amounts of jewelry can also be distracting.

If you’re in doubt, ask your PR person for a quick media training session. They’ll know how to calm you down and give you quick tips right before your interview.