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Interview Tips

These tips will help you collect your thoughts for an interview with a member of the media. 

Preparing for a Media Interview

  • Ask about the reporter’s deadline. If he or she calls you on short notice and you aren’t prepared, ask if you can return the call in 10 or 20 minutes once you collect your thoughts or research.
  • As you collect your thoughts, think of two to three key points you want to be sure to make.
  • Consider the audience you’re speaking to (local, national, scientific community).

During the Interview

  • Talk like you are having a conversation with a friend who is not in your field/area of expertise.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Provide context.
  • Don’t use jargon or acronyms.
  • Use examples to illustrate your point.

For TV Interviews

  • Send talking points to the producer or anchor ahead of time if it’s a live TV segment.
  • Don't read or memorize your answers from the talking points; use the points as a guide.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop and restart your answer, unless it is a live interview.
  • At the end of a taped interview, reporters usually ask if there is anything else you want to add. This is your chance to reiterate your points or mention something key that the reporter didn’t ask you.