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Tips for Radio and TV Interviews

•  The producer will often want an initial off-air interview to obtain background information. You may have specific things you want to contribute, so it’s important to discuss content beforehand. You can also offer to send a list of preferred questions. Once you know the topics, rehearsing is essential.

•  Dress in solid colors and pastels. Avoid loud patterns, distracting or shiny jewelry, and white clothing, which washes out under bright lights. Any clothing with fine patterns or small checks may cause a moiré (a wavy effect). If possible, leave your eyeglasses at home. They can reflect light and cause glare.

•  Take a business card and provide a written bio, if appropriate.

•  Make and hold eye contact. Focus on the person asking the questions and not on the camera.

•  Speak slowly and clearly, and enunciate your words.

•  Acknowledge any questions you’re asked, but always bridge back to your primary points during an interview.

•  Define your key messages and be ready to deliver those messages regardless of the questions you’re asked. If you are asked a question that is off-topic, you can acknowledge the question and then thoughtfully redirect the conversation in a new direction.

•  When discussing research, start with your conclusions, and then fill in background information.

•  Offer succinct answers, and avoid jargon, rambling explanations or complicated answers. Use every-day examples when appropriate. Reporters look for colorful, lively quotes.

•  Spend time beforehand identifying specific examples that help make your message personal.

•  All sentences need to be of “stand alone” quality. The context given by surrounding sentences may not be included.

•  Avoid speaking “off the record” while taping is in progress.

•  Speak with conviction in a conversational manner, as if you are having a conversation over coffee. Be confident and remember that you are the expert.

•  Do try to be as open, honest and friendly as possible, before, during and after taping.