Tips for media interviews

Tips for media interviews

Whether it’s national, regional or at a local level, media interviews can be tough especially if you are unprepared.  Many of our clients carry round a Freshfield media interview tips card and here we share them with you. Feel free to use.

Before agreeing to an interview – ask:

– What is the interview about and what is it for?
– What areas will be covered?
– How long will it last?
– Will the interview be face-to-face or over the phone?
– When will it take place?
– When do they need to know your decision?

After agreeing to be interviewed – remember:

– Be prepared – your comments will appear in print or be broadcast
– Try and be confident – this is your interview
– Be positive and not defensive
– Be courteous but also cautious with journalists
– Write down or memorise 3-5 key points.

During the interview:

– Keep calm
– Think about your answers and try to be positive when putting your points across
– Keep your language simple and avoid jargon
– Speak simply and avoid long titles or initials
– If the interviewer makes any mistakes – correct them
– Try not to say “I think” – it doesn’t sound positive.

For radio:

– Try and sound enthusiastic and convincing
– Do not start sentences with “well”
– Try and avoid saying “ums” and “ahs”.

For television:

– Sit still and upright in the chair – try not to rock or move
– Nod when introduced and at the end of the interview
– Always look at the interviewer and ignore the camera
– Try not to fall for the interviewer’s pregnant pauses, which aim to make you babble on
– Do not wear anything distracting.

Pitfalls:

– Never say “no comment”
– Beware of multiple questions – only answer your point
– Be careful of any questions starting with “So what you are saying is…” – only answer in your own words
– Keep statistics simple: say “half” or “on in three” instead of 50% or 30%
– Be wary of any irrelevant questions – they may be leading questions
– Avoid saying “firstly” and “secondly”.

Off the record:

– Avoid talking off the record to journalists – assume everything you say will be quoted.


Written by Simon Turner, at Freshfield

For more information, please contact Simon or the Freshfield team on 01772 888400.

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