10 ways of giving successful interviews for executives

By Angelika Blendstrup, Ph.D. and Benedicte Ennis, PR Director

Many executives, with whom we have worked on media preparation have uncertainties and misconceptions about what it takes to prepare for and give an the interview they really want to give. Therefore, we have pulled together our ideas of the most important things to consider before meeting the press.

Some areas to focus on are:

1) Know to whom you are talking.

Understand ahead of time whether your interview will be published in a technical or trade journal, a business journal, or a vertical – specialized – journal.
Be familiar with the newspaper, magazine or journal the journalist works for..

2) Know what information the journalist is interested in, i.e. anticipate the questions.

If you’ve taken the time to read the journalist’s articles, – or had them translated – you can anticipate where the questions will be going.

3) Know what you want to say.

On that same note, if you’ve done the necessary research, and you are perfectly clear about what you want to say, your message will be heard.

4) Practice, practice, practice!

Many people don’t realize that giving interviews – just like giving presentations – are a matter of numerous rehearsals.

5) Use language that everyone can understand,– don’t confuse jargon with “being in the know.”

People sometimes think that in order to appear knowledgeable, they have to use a lot of esoteric (difficult, obtuse…) language.

6) Manage your body language.

Pointing finger or pens in people’s faces to make a point, clicking your pen nervously, or using other diversionary tactics, takes the focus away from you.s.

7) Have a well thought-out written presentation as additional support.

You should have no more than three to four slides, they should be short, to the point, with copies to journalists at the end of the interview.8) “Dress to kill” even if it is an informal setting.
In spite of living in the Silicon Valley where informality is “in”, journalists –especially from other countries – need to see you looking your best.

9) If you don’t know something, admit it – and provide the answer later on.

10) Follow up with an email and provide additional info, if needed.

You can ask if the information you provided was useful, and in what context the information is going to be used. Avoid asking the question “when is the article going to be published” or “could you send me the article before you publish it in your magazine”.

This question should only be asked if the article is very technical and if the journalist needs you to make some factual edits. Please contact us for more information.

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