The explosion of media channels, radio, television and public events means that more people are being interviewed about more topics than ever before. It might even happen to you… and soon. The following are some of my observations and I would recommend the following tips:
1. They call it giving an interview, not taking one, and for good reason. If you’re not eager to share your perspective, don’t bother showing up.
2. Questions shouldn’t be taken literally. The purpose of the question is to give you a chance to talk about something you care about. The audience wants to hear what you have to say, and if the question isn’t right on point, answer a different one instead.
3. In all but the most formal media settings, it’s totally appropriate to talk with the interviewer in advance, to give him some clues about what you’re interested in discussing. It makes you both look good.
4. The interviewer is not your friend, and everything you say is on the record. If you don’t want it to be in print, don’t say it.
5. If you get asked the same question from interview to interview, there’s probably a good reason. Saying, “I get asked that question all the time,” and then force a smile in pain is disrespectful to the interviewer and the audience. See rule 1.
6. If your answers aren’t interesting, exciting or engaging, that’s your fault, not the interviewer’s. See rule 2.