By: Josefa Paganuzzi

You finally get the call from your local television saying that they want to do an interview with you after pitching them since the beginning of the year.  Now what do you do?   The answer is quite simple – PREPARE!

Does a chef go into a busy weekend not having prepped the kitchen properly or a teacher go into class without a lesson plan?  Most likely not, so here are some tips to focus on to make sure you are prepared fully for the big interview!


What do you need to know before the interview?  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use the interview as an opportunity to state your positive, key message points.
  • When necessary, repeat your key message points to increase the likelihood that they will get into the reporter’s notes then in the published story.
  • Remember to say the name of your organization. Don’t refer to it as “we.”
  • Try not to answer with only one word. Use each question as a “Branching off” opportunity.
  • It is best to think you are always “on the record.” Don’t say anything that you don’t want to see appear at a later date.

Because you are preparing for a live interview it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Familiarize yourself with the program and reporter beforehand. Know the format and audience.  Learn the reporter/interviewer’s style.
  • Ask how long an interview will be so you can pace yourself. You want to be sure to get your points across before the interwar says “time’s up.”
  • Keep your sentences short and to the point. In the age of the “sound bite,” it is important to remember that only a few key words may end up in the air.  Choose your words carefully.
  • Keep your gestures to a minimum in a TV interview. Too much uncomfortable gesturing will detract from what you are trying to say.
  • Look at the reporter, not the camera.
  • Be aware of how you are sitting/standing and how you are dressed.
  • If a reporter comes to your office, identify an area to film ahead of time that best exemplifies what you do.
  • Don’t repeat a negative point, comment, or question. When you are being taped it can be edited and can be taken out of context so that is sounds as I you made the negative remark.

Keep in mind that news packages usually run for 1:15 to 2:00 in length. There is no guarantee that all or any of what you say will ever appear on air, so don’t worry about sounding repetitive in answers!

Once the story airs, be sure to send a thank you email to the reporter.  Also, share the segment on social media and tag the station and reporter.  They can then see how your social audience is engaged and might even call you back to be interviewed again!

And most importantly remember to be yourself and have fun!