How to Prepare for a Media Interview in 2021

A media interview is a great way to convey a message and promote your business. However, no matter your level of experience or mastery of this skill, preparation remains the key to any successful interview.

With COVID-19 and the current remote work reality, Zoom and other online conferencing platforms are now part of our daily lives. Media interviews are no exception to this new reality, so it is important to adapt and adjust to this new way of doing things. Here are some tips to help you prepare properly and get the most out of your virtual interview.

A reminder of good practices

Whether your interview is over Zoom, by phone, or in person, best practices remain the same. Once you have secured the journalist’s interest and confirmed the interview, it is crucial to take the time to prepare well. Before we dive into more technical aspects, here are some reminders on good practices:

Research: Read the latest news on the topic of your interview. Try to learn more about the journalist with whom you are going to speak with: their tone, interests, recent articles, etc. This will help you identify potential issues or “traps” which you could fall into, among other things.

Key messages: What are your communications objectives? What do you want to put forward? Prepare yourselves and make your key messages your own. Mastering these will allow you to convey your message with confidence and prevent you from straying away from your topic. Take advantage of the fact that interviews are not face-to-face and keep your key messages nearby, on a bulletin board or on Post-Its.

Be aware of trick questions: Prepare a Q&A document with the help of your team and your communications advisors. This exercise will allow you to target potential issues and plan your answers to more difficult questions. It can be hard to dodge a reporter’s questions, so it’s better to be prepared than to be taken aback.

Presence: Whether virtual or face-to-face, engagement and presence during an interview are among the most important keys to success. Be confident, focus on your key messages, and don’t let stress take over you – your energy will dictate the tone of the interview.

Interviewing in the Zoom era

Don’t take a chance with technical difficulties – conduct some tests before the interview to avoid this. While Zoom faux pas have made their rounds on social media since the start of remote work, they keep happening, so here are a few technical things to consider:

Camera: Position your computer at eye level using a stack of books or a box. During the interview, look straight into the camera, avoid looking at the other person, or worse yet, at yourself.

Sound: Test the sound with a colleague or friend beforehand. Is there an echo? Would it be better to use headphones? If you’re not alone, notify anyone you share your space with that you’ll be doing a virtual interview so that they minimize ambient noise.

Brightness: Light directed towards your face is ideal, so if possible, face a window. Placing your back to it will create a backlight effect. If the light is too bright, draw the curtains.

Platform: Make sure that the platform on which the interview will be held is installed on your computer in advance and that you do a test with a colleague or loved one. Also make sure you have a stable internet connection.

Background: In the current era, you will practically be inviting the reporter to your home, so pay attention to what we can see behind you. Also, try to stand with your back to a wall or bookcase to prevent your ”confinement colleagues” from walking behind you during the call.

Finally, since they have broken down many geographic barriers and therefore made life easier for journalists, video conferencing interviews are likely here to stay. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need advice or support for your interviews in the digital age!

Alexandra Johnston About the author
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