If you keep in mind everything we wrote in the previous two blog posts (quick tips before 1st interview & 1st part of this post), you should be able finish your first interview just fine. When the questions start flowing, there is no way back, but … you will see that it is easier than you thought! Here are a few more tips and some information you should know about your relation with the journalist during your exchange of words.
6. Listen to the journalist
It is important to listen to what the journalist is telling you and asking you. If there is something you don’t understand – ask for an explanation. Like everybody else, journalists can make mistakes, but only the best ones will admit them and do their best to correct them. If you will listen to the journalist and know exactly what the journalist would like to ask you, you have a much better chance to answer properly.
7. Get to the point
Don’t talk too much! It can be hard to answer a question shortly, but try not to take it into extremes. Especially if you are talking for the radio or TV, you will need to get to the point straight away … If your answers are too long, you are taking a great risk of getting edited and the final outcome might be a surprise – in most cases, it is an unpleasant one. Remember: if you forget something important, a good journalist will ask you that later! But still: don’t forget something that you want to tell the journalist and that he doesn’t know about.
8. Don’t take it personally
It may happen that you will be asked unpleasant questions. But you must answer them and know that the journalist probably asked them because the public wants to know your answer. “No comment” is the best answer if you really don’t want to reply. That is the best thing to do when you are faced with a question you don’t want to answer or where it is best not to answer. Personal things should remain personal. There are things you should discuss outside the media – refuse to answer or say that you may comment on it later if you are not sure what to do. The journalist should and will understand.
9. It’s his job!
Things may distract you when talking to a journalist, but remember that a good journalist does a lot of things during an interview because he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. Taking or checking notes (even on his telephone – although there is a slight chance he got a text or is updating his Twitter account), checking on technical equipment or looking at this watch … it’s all part of his job! So don’t worry if you loose eye contact for a while. It is important that you don’t have feeling that the journalist is somewhere else.
10. Be helpful even when the interview is over
It may be over for you, but the real work for the journalist has only started … He will have to retype and arrange your answers into the format you will later see in the media. He may need additional help with such things as clarification of names, figures and events. Be ready to help if the journalist calls for additional information. There may be vital parts of the story missing and it is crucial that you give it to the journalist. If you get a call, text or even an e-mail: answer! In the end, it is for your own good.
Before we finish …
Remember: it is all about making a good impression and making sure that this is not your first AND last interview. Of course it has a lot to do with your on-the-pitch performances, but a good media image can really boost your rating among the fans and sport followers. Use your first five minutes of fame wisely – it can open a lot of doors.
Wishing you a great first interview – hopefully our tips will help!