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Giving a media interview

An interviewer or journalist may ask you to give a face-to-face interview.

The interview:

  • ask why they want to interview you
  • establish how much they know about the subject
  • establish what more they want to find out.

Remember that journalists work on a vast number of subjects and to tight deadlines. They will not know as much about your subject as you, but neither will they have time for an in-depth discussion.

Before you do the interview, prepare some notes on the subject you will be talking about. If a journalist telephones for an immediate quote, promise to call back and spend at least a few minutes preparing what you want to say. Remember to call back as soon as possible, as new stories always crop up and you may be forgotten.

You might have several points to make but at the very most your audience will remember two or three. The less you say, the more they'll remember. So try to identify the issues and subjects that will appeal most to the audience. Be punchy. Avoid long drawn out speeches.

Confidence, clarity and control

Have confidence in your own knowledge. You know your subject better than the journalist.

Use a clear, accessible style. Avoid jargon.

Take charge of the interview. Preparation is the key. Know in advance which points you want to get across and do not get distracted. There is no such thing as a wrong question, only wrong answers.

Give examples

A good example can be worth a thousand words. A human story always gains more attention. For example, 'At the age of eight, she is already dreaming of going to the Olympics'.

Use analogies

Analogies are another good way to 'ring a bell' in the audience's mind. Relate abstract terms and dimensions to everyday things, or perhaps more famous people. For example, 'Our centre forward is the female answer to Michael Owen'.

Give advice

People love to be 'in the know'. Where possible, give the audience a few tips on how to get the best out of something, or how to avoid disaster. For example, 'Go to the Women's Sports Foundation website to find out more about women's sport, or contact your local girls' sports development officer'.

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