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Most press interviews are set up in advance. They can be initiated by you as the public relations representative, or they can be requested by a reporter who is looking for credible experts to fill out a story.
If a reporter calls requesting an interview, you should interview the reporter before the reporter interviews you. Some common questions are, " What's the nature of your story? " " Why did you call me? " " What are you looking for from me? "
By doing this kind of questioning, you can decide if you are qualified to answer the questions or whether someone else in the organization would be a better source. You may also decide that the context of the story is not appropriate for your organization and decline to be interviewed. For example, the reporter may ask you to comment on some topic that has nothing to do with your organization.
One danger in a telephone interview is that you're caught off guard and don't have time to formulate your thoughts. But before you know it, you and the reporter are chatting away like old friends about a number of topics. This is fine, but do remember that name and a quote will probably appear in the article or as a sound bite on a newscast. It may be accurate, or it may be completely out of context.
A better approach for a major interview, whether initiated by you or by the reporter, is to schedule it in advance. If you know the purpose of the story, this will help you prepare yourself or other spokespersons for the session.
There are some tips:
Another common suggestion is to provide reporters with company background materials in advance or at the time of the interview. This will help them get facts and names correct. Body language is also important: Be confident and relaxed, always look a reporter in the eye and never look away, keep your hands open, smile, and lean forward when you're talking.