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5 Key Tips for Handling Difficult Interview Questions From The Press

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Editorial Staff
5 Key Tips for Handling Difficult Interview Questions From The Press

As an expert in your field, the media will often come to you to provide quotes and insights on any number of different topics. This can be exciting – but it can also be very intimidating if you’re not used to the process. Here are five key tips that will help you handle difficult journalist interview questions and become a pro at media interviews!

1) Have an answer ready 

As an expert in your field, you’re probably aware of what pitfalls an interviewer might ask about, for example if you’re the CEO of an oil company you can expect a journalist will ask about oil spills or climate change. If you have a company that takes care of the elderly, you can expect questions about elder abuse, pain management and end of life care.  Have an answer ready for those tough questions that often come up in regards to your industry. 

2) Be Prepared 

Reporters aren’t out to make you look bad or embarrass you on live TV. They’re often looking for a story, and if they can get answers from an expert source—you!—they’ll use them. If a reporter asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, you can always ABC, A - acknowledge the question, B - bridge to another topic that you do know the answer to, C - complete your talking point. If something off-topic comes up in an interview, resist going down a rabbit hole of details—stick to what you know and why it matters to people outside your organization.

3) Don't Become Flustered

Getting nervous? A certain amount of nerves can be a good thing: you'll want to stay focused and on-message. But try not to let your nerves get out of control—if you're interviewing on TV, it might help to practice in front of a mirror beforehand. When you talk, speak clearly and confidently; that will carry into your body language as well. Eye contact is also key: looking directly at your interviewer conveys trustworthiness and shows that you're interested in what they have to say. Looking away suggests discomfort or fear. If everything goes smoothly and you know what questions are coming up ahead of time, it's always a good idea to spend some time practicing exactly how you'll answer those questions—this can reduce anxiety about forgetting information or tripping over words.

4) Speak Clearly And Confidently

Be sure to speak clearly and confidently, even if you’re nervous. Don’t mumble or rush over your words. If you’re not certain about an answer, say so; there is nothing wrong with saying, I don’t know; I’ll get back to you with an answer after I check into it. That may help you turn a negative into a positive by letting people know that you are thorough in your research and aware of what information is lacking. Most people will appreciate someone who admits they don't have all of the answers but will strive to find them if given time and resources. Journalists usually love when sources provide additional insight beyond their standard response or when they ask follow-up questions during an interview.

5) Always Be Friendly

There’s a difference between being professional and being cold or unfriendly. You don’t have to be a best friend, but reporters need to trust you and they want to work with people they like. If a journalist gets off on an aggressive interview tactic, it doesn’t mean you have to get defensive, but it does mean you should always strive to remain friendly and professional. Be Prepared: If you haven’t done any interviews before or haven’t been in front of a camera much, then take some time beforehand to prepare your responses. Think about what kinds of questions might come up during an interview and have answers ready that are brief but also insightful—and deliver them confidently.

Here is to growing your name and brand for years to come.

- Your friends at Rolli

www.rolliapp.com


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