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Small business owners occasionally have an opportunity to be interviewed by the media and although the thought of an interview can be daunting, if you follow these tips you will be a media pro in no time.

  1. Know the Reporter’s Agenda Ask what the focus and scope of the interview will be. However, don’t ask what specific questions the reporter will ask because it’s unlikely they will tell you, or if they do they may ask different questions during the interview which may throw you off balance.
  2. Plan Ahead Prepare for the interview by thinking up some questions you may be asked. Practice the answers.
  3. Be Concise Keep your answers short and to the point. Brevity is especially important for television and radio. However, don’t simply say yes or no.
  4. Don’t Use Jargon Try to stick with words most people would understand. If you must use unusual terms, explain them.
  5. Make a Significant Statement This should be your goal! If possible, incorporate the question into your answer to create a quotable statement.
  6. Use Facts and Specifics Your opinion becomes an expert opinion when it’s reinforced with data. Provide exact dates, figures, statistics, events and names. Give an interesting or funny example to illustrate a point.
  7. Don’t Sound Like a Commercial Hard sell statements will get edited out of the story and the reporter will be reluctant to interview you again.
  8. Repeat Your Main Point(s) You can say them different ways to make sure they get across.
  9. Only Say What You Want to See in Print or Hear on the Air Just because the microphone or tape recorder is off, doesn’t mean the reporter won’t repeat something you say.
  10. Never Say “No Comment” You will look as you have something to hide. Instead say, “I cannot provide, or release, that information at this time.” Briefly explain why. Or, if you don’t know the answer, simply say so.
  11. Be Honest You must be truthful to be credible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so.
  12. Be Positive Negative statements tend to reflect poorly on you. Emphasize your strong points, not your competition’s weak ones.
  13. Be Cooperative and Courteous Strive to develop a positive relationship with the reporter so he/she will want to interview you again. Respect and try and accommodate the reporter’s deadlines when scheduling a time for the interview. Finally, if you are pleasant and fun to interview, the resulting publicity is more likely to be positive.


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