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How to ace an interview; media or otherwise

Set goals for every appearance - Keep thinking O-S-T-A: objective, strategy, tactics and audience

Hammer home your key messages

For interviews, keep answers - especially for TV or radio - to about 10 seconds each. Remember the New Futures Key Message!

Nothing is 100% off the record

Whatever you say - anywhere - can follow you around endlessly and perhaps disastrously. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Then later on, be certain to get back to the reporter with an answer.

Don’t say or do anything you don’t want repeated, even if you’re told it’s "off the record."

Watch your body language

Before on-camera interviews, if there is time, do some exercises or walk around to relax your body.


  • Stand up during phone conferences. It will make your voice more energetic and authoritative.

  • To check notes during presentations, move your eyes, not your head.

  • Don’t fidget in your chair or with any stage or podium props.

  • Don’t look at the ground, sky or camera during your responses since this could be interpreted by the audience as inattentive or evasive body language.


Be in control

  • If the interview goes off track, stop it.

  • If you are being taped and want to try again, say so.

  • Don’t let reporters start an argument with you. Instead, look and sound calm and controlled.

  • Stay alert

Make a connection

  • Anticipate questions and prepare answers. Ask for a pre-interview.

  • Learn about the medium, reporter and audience well before the interview.

  • Smile.

  • Say, “Thank you.”

Communicate your Key Messages

  • Distill your message.

  • Keep a clear agenda. Know what you wish to accomplish and what you want to say.

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