For many people, getting an interview with a reporter from a major TV news station or print publication is a very big deal. Business owners who get an interview are getting a chance to share the story of their business and themselves with the world while building notoriety and trust among potential future customers. Even for those who don’t own a business, an interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate expertise or mark an important personal milestone to share with the world.
Here at In The News, many of our customers turn these interviews into commemorative keepsake plaques to serve as trophies or promotional materials to showcase their greatest achievements. The stronger the newspaper article or TV interview, the more effective the plaque will be.
However, in order to get the most out of an interview, it is important to be thoroughly prepared for the interview before it begins. This involves things such as:
Making sure you’re well-rested;
Dressing appropriately for the interview;
Preparing some talking points;
Conducting a pre-interview with the reporter.
Why should you conduct a pre-interview before the interview proper begins? The truth is, doing a pre-interview can actually help you maximize the impact of your interview.
Here is a short list of ways in which a pre-interview can help you get the most out of your interview:
#1: You Get to Explain Specific Details about Your Field of Expertise
Odds are that many people will not know everything there is to know about your business, hobby, or field of expertise that earned you the interview in the first place. By conducting a pre-interview with a reporter, you can gauge his or her level of expertise/knowledge regarding what you do.
In the pre-interview, you can explain many of the specific terms that you use, especially any acronyms or other jargon that are common to your industry/field, but are relatively unknown or might have other meanings elsewhere. By explaining certain terms and concepts, you can make sure that your comments aren’t going to “fly over” the interviewer’s head, and the heads of his or her readers.
In short, a pre-interview is your chance to broaden an interviewer’s knowledge about what you do.
#2: It Helps the Interviewer to Ask Better Questions
Have you ever seen a televised interview or read an article where it was painfully obvious that the interviewer did not know the first thing about their subject’s field of expertise? The conversation often meanders as the reporter struggles to find questions to help move things forward and the questions that do get asked feel unfocused or even off-topic.
Thankfully, this is rare since most news agencies will send in reporters who are at least somewhat familiar with the subject matter being covered. However, for those rare instances where the only reporter available has no knowledge of your field, a pre-interview can help bring them up to speed on what it is that you do so that they know enough about you and your area of expertise to ask the right questions.
With better, more focused questions, the interviewer is able to make sure that his or her audience can understand what it is that you do and why it is important.
#3: It Can Make Your Message Clearer
One of the biggest problems with being an expert in any given field, from farming, to making custom car modifications, to legal proceedings, and even rocket science, is the old “curse of knowledge.” When you’re an expert in something, all of the jargon and concepts attached to that subject are second nature to you. You learn to think and speak in those terms as naturally as most U.S. citizens speak English.
However, to a non-expert, the terms and concepts that are everyday to you might be as unfamiliar as hieroglyphics are to most people. Without a basic frame of reference for understanding what you’re talking about, readers/viewers won’t be able to understand the importance of your message.
A pre-interview gives the reporter a frame of reference for understanding your work, which in turn allows them to explain it in terms that a broader audience can understand. This helps to eliminate confusion among viewers/readers about what you’re saying.
#4: It Gives You a Chance to Get Comfortable with the Interviewer
When you do a pre-interview, you get a few extra minutes to interact with the interviewer. During this time, you can get to know him or her, and settle in, getting comfortable before the interview proper begins.
This helps to alleviate any sense of nervousness you might have before the interview starts, allowing you to focus on giving great answers rather than worrying about the impression you’re leaving. Being able to relax helps to make you appear more confident and assertive, which helps to establish your authority, especially in a televised interview.
Learn More about Preparing for an Interview Now!
The above points are just a few ways in which doing a pre-interview can help. However, there are many more ways in which you can prepare for an interview ahead of time so that you can get the best results.