How To Control The Interview Setting

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how to control the interview setting

How To Control The Interview Setting

If you find yourself with the opportunity to get interviewed, you may feel that the media, or the host, has the home-court advantage.  And that’s because they’re the ones asking you the questions. 

But as the person responding, you also have a lot of control, too.  This is because you are the one feeding them the information they’ll use or follow up on.

So for you, always spend the time preparing and setting some ground rules with them.

Below are four strategies to help you control the interview setting.

1. Study Previous Interviews

The first thing you want to do is listen or watch previous interviews done by this media outlet.

As you watch previous interviews, be sure to take note of the following:

  • Do you notice a pattern of how the interviewer asks their questions?
  • Are they very direct?
  • Do they push?
  • How do other people respond to their questions?

You might not need to worry as much if it is generally a light-hearted media outlet. But, if the interviewer has a dogged personality, you might want to prepare even more. 

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Consider the following as you prepare for your interview.

  • Talking Points – Prepare talking points for yourself and the person interviewing you.  This will help you feel more confident and in control.
  • Practice Your Answers – It is always important to practice your answers.  The more you practice, the more you will feel comfortable.  

When you study previous interviews, you will get a good gauge on what to expect.  This will help you have more control as you enter the interview. 

 

2. Off The Table

As you work to control the interview setting, you will want to be upfront with the person interviewing you. This means letting the interviewer know what questions are off-the-table. 

Off the table questions can include:

  • Sensitive information
  • Things that are too early to discuss right now
  • Insider information

how to control the interview settingThe interviewing person will most likely still want to discuss off-the-table questions.  However, you can let the interviewer know they will be the first to know once you are ready to release the information.   This will lessen the pressure you feel about disclosing information to them. 

💡We recommend the e-course “The Art Of Video Interviews” to help you prepare for video interviews.

When you set interview expectations, you are taking control of the interview setting.

 

3. Other Story Angles

Sometimes a reporter will continuously want to talk about something you don’t want to discuss. If they keep pushing to talk about a topic, give them other story angle options.  This means giving them other topics to focus on.

For example, if they want to talk about your new product launch, and be the first publication to announce it, and you’re not ready, instead release exclusive sales numbers of your previous products that no one else has. Or, talk about the infrastructure your company has invested in, without giving away your product.

In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Media Training Essentials, you will learn more about how you can offer other story angles to news outlets.

When you give the reporter another angle, you ensure the focus on the interview is what you want it to be. 

 

4. Someone On Standby

how to control the interview settingOn the day of the interview, have a co-worker on standby.  Preferably a communications professional from your team who will be comfortable stepping in if things go haywire.  Just as much as you’re spending time preparing your talking points for the interview, you also want to make sure everyone else is on the same page.  

In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Media Relations Foundations, you will learn how to build strong relationships with the media and how to control every interview setting.

As you prepare for your next media interview, consider taking a few extra steps to ensure you control the interview setting.  Do your research, inform the reporter of topics you won’t be covering, offer alternative angles, and always have someone from your company ready to jump in at any time.

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Do you want to learn more about how to control the interview setting? Join our private communications group and level up with our expert guidance.

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