When it comes to media interviews, preparation is the key to success. But familiarity with the subject matter is simply not enough. Good interview preparation involves anticipating what kind of questions may be asked, outlining answers ahead of time and knowing how to steer the conversation away from the flashpoints you hope to avoid.

Interviewees must speak with authority and be knowledgeable, so they are viewed as credible and reputable. Knowing what to say if you don’t have the answer is also key to acing an interview. 

Here are 6 tips and tricks to help you shine in an interview:

Know your message: Figure out what you want to say ahead of time, be prepared to concisely articulate your position and stick to your core messaging. It can be easy to get distracted during an interview and veer off topic so use notes if it helps you stay focused. It’s easier to communicate your key points if you keep your interview clearly focused.

Be authoritative: Present yourself as the voice of your organization. Speak with confidence and authority so you are viewed as credible and believable. Know your core messaging and be resolute in communicating that message.

Practice makes perfect: Practice, practice, practice. Know your message inside and out. Practice your answers in front of a mirror, record your responses, watch the recording and determine if there are ways you can improve. Speaking on camera can be difficult and your responses must be concise and to the point. Meandering answers take up time which you will not have. Make your points clear and direct.

Keep it simple: Long, drawn out answers will not play well on TV.  Keep your answers short and sweet, clear and simple and to the point. Know what you want to say and then figure out a way to convey that message in clear and simple terms. Brevity is best on camera. Use simple language so anyone can understand your message.

Speak in sound bites: Learn how to frame your core message in pithy, catchy sound bites. These sound bites will be usable in print interviews and on TV. Make your message memorable and use carefully thought-out words and phrases.

Be truthful: Never, ever lie or be evasive. If you don’t know the answer, admit to it but tell the interviewer you get back to them later. If you are unable to give them a precise answer for other reasons, be honest and say exactly that.

Red Banyan’s team of media relations experts can help you prepare for an interview with carefully tailored media training. Our team of media outreach and training experts have the specialized training you need to get you through your interview with the kind of results that will make you shine.