Preparing for a media interview is important and can help you feel more confident and at ease. See below for media interview tips provided by FINN Partners at MSU Faculty Training Workshop events.

Overall Interview Tips

  • The journalist is not the audience nor your cheerleader.
  • Be clear. Be concise.
  • Control the message and the environment.
  • Bridge to your message:
    • “Let me just add…”
    • “That reminds me…”
    • “I’m not sure I agree, but let’s look at it from another angle.”
  • There’s no such thing as off the record.
  • Never use “no comment.”
  • Do not respond to hypotheticals.
  • If you don’t know the answer, say so. Off the cuff, you risk a verbal faux pas.

Preparing for an Interview

  • Develop key messages: clear, concise, relatable language.
  • Provide supporting material/data: relevant, understandable, true.
  • Query the media contact for context, deadline, and advance questions.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

During an Interview

  • Be yourself.
  • Be engaged and engaging.
  • Say what you know – your core knowledge.
  • Personalize/humanize your message(s).
  • Don’t use slogans, talking points, or jargon – tell “stories.”
  • Humor helps – but no telling jokes.
  • Relax, smile.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Tips on Delivery

  • Maintain a natural, slow pace in both speaking and moving.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Keep your voice low and natural.
  • Use YOUR voice.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Tips on Body Language

  • Use hand gestures sparingly.
  • Be aware of facial expressions.
  • If you’re doing a phone interview, consider standing or sit at the front of your chair.

Tips for Zoom Interviews

  • Your camera should be at eye level – look directly at the camera. Stack books under your laptop to raise it to eye level.
    • TIP: Attach a piece of paper over your computer screen so you are not tempted to look down or away from the camera.
  • For sound, sit an arm’s length or closer to the camera on your device.
    • TIP: The background should not include a window or very bright light from behind.
  • Light should be coming from the front and slightly off center and about 6 to 8 feet off the floor.