• If you get blindsided in an interview, either:  Answer the question asked, or deflect the question
  • If you don’t know the answer: Simply say “I don’t know.” If the question is about something you should know or can get an answer to, tell the reporter you’ll follow up with a more complete reply. Or, tell the public what you know, not what you don’t. If you’re not the right person to answer a given question, it’s okay to say so. It’s rarely a bad idea for specialists to “stay in their lanes” and refer off-topic questions to other specialists. So if you’re a company financial officer and you’re asked about a manufacturing process, just tell the reporter that you’re not an expert on that topic but would be happy to find someone who is. 
  • Questions that beg for speculation or hypotheticals. Tell the reporter, "I’m reluctant to speculate, but I can tell you that…." Your job is to share what you know, not to answer “what if” questions. 
  • Personal Opinions:  Instead, tell the reporter that you’re speaking as a representative of the company and that it would be inappropriate for personal views to enter into the conversation.Ex. I’m speaking on behalf of the agency (T) and can tell you what we believe. (M) We’re confident that… If you do give your personal opinion, be careful not to say anything that contradicts their organization’s views, or reporters will seize on and highlight those differences in the final news story 
  • Watch out for paraphrasing – Don’t let reporters put words in your mouth.  In fact, if a reporter paraphrases your words, don’t accept the paraphrase unless it’s completely accurate. If it’s not, correct the statement in your own words without using any of the reporter’s loaded language. 
  • Answer this question “yes” or “no.” Don’t answer it with a yes or no. Answer it by stating the problem then the solution.
  • Answering unexpected questions. Pledge to learn more; Talk about what you do know; Stick to the facts; Stick to process.
  • For a radio interview on the phone, limit distractions – don’t sit at your desk or in front of the TVs; Stand up – you will be able to think on your feet and have a bit more energy. Smile – We can hear if you are; Have your notes handy but don’t rely on them.  Expect to go live very quickly – you will call in and then within afew seconds you will be on air.
  • If in studio, sit close to the microphone, a fist away, connect with the radio host – look at him/her in the eye and talk as if you are talking to a friend or having a conversation.
  • If it is not a radio interview, but a phoner with journalist, listen for the sounds of a keyboard and adjust your pace so they can type everything and feel free to ask if your explanation made sense
  • For TV Interviews, Arrive early, Bring makeup, Look at a mirror before you go on. Turn off your cell phone, leave your purse at the edge of the studio or with your PR consultant. Act as if you’re always on, being careful not to wipe your face, adjust your hair, or fix your outfit during your interview. Listen attentively, but only nod along if you agree. 
  • VIDEO.  Katie Couric’s Advice on Interviews - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eOynrI2eTM

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