A media interview also gives you the opportunity to start building a relationship with a journalist. If you provide them with the right information and are easy to work with, they may interview you again in the future.
It’s then important to conduct yourself appropriately during an interview and to know how to answer questions to benefit the journalist and your business.
The Public Relations Society of America has provided some great tips on phrases and expressions to avoid in a media interview.
No Comment: By saying this phrase, journalists will immediately think you are trying to hide something. Instead of saying no comment you could explain why you are not able to answer the question.
Why are you asking that: It’s not important to understand the journalist’s motive for asking a question. The journalist will still want you to answer the question no matter what their motive is. Try to answer the question to the best of your ability and then redirect the conversation to a more favourable topic.
Are you going to misquote me: Questioning the journalist’s professionalism will only anger the journalist and they may never interview you again.
That’s a dumb question: Don’t insult the journalist. If you think a question is irrelevant, instead of telling them, use this as an opportunity to explain the topic in more detail. Once the journalist understands more about the topic they may ask more relevant questions.
Tell me the name of your publication again: Not knowing details about the journalist or their publication makes you look unprepared and uninterested in the interview. Before the interview you should research the publication, journalist and topic of discussion to help you be as prepared as possible.
I’m too busy to talk to you now, call me later: Journalists are usually on a strict deadline so if you can’t do the interview they will ask someone else. If you are unable to do the interview straight away ask when their deadline is and organise for another time to complete the interview before their deadline.
I want to read your article before it’s published: Most journalists will not allow you to see their article before it is published. By asking to see it, you may sound like you are questioning their ability to do their job correctly.
It’s a good idea to receive some formal media training to help you handle a media interview effectively and assist you with being able to formulate the best answers.
What other comments should you not say during a media interview?
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