After learning about the important things before the first interview, it’s time to move to the real thing – the interview itself!
Although you may end up meeting all kinds of journalists, you should have in mind that a professional journalist’s job is to present news (facts) to the public in a fair, balanced and truthful manner. Here are first five (5) tips on how football (soccer) player should present himself/herself in the best possible way when facing the first interview.
1. Never expect to get paid
First and foremost: never expect to get paid for an interview. Take it as an honour and a potential opportunity to gain financial reward elsewhere. There are only a handful of people in the whole world that get paid for interviews. Asking for something in return for an interview can have a damaging effect; can you imagine the headline: “17-year old footballer wants money for an interview”?
Keep in mind that journalists can be (mostly) good and also bad, but do try to have an open mind. Be polite and treat the journalist as your best customer. Don’t be late, don’t make up excuses and don’t lie!
2. No bad questions, only terrible answers
It may be hard to imagine, but the journalist is only the first person of many who will hear/read/see your story in the media. You may not like him or he may not like you, but in the end what comes out is a piece of news that involves both of you. Remember, there are no bad questions, only terrible answers. If you have something interesting to say, mention it even if the question is about something different. Some journalists don’t have a lot of imagination, so you may end up being asked about silly things over and over again.
3. “We gave it our best … bla, bla, bla”
Try to be innovative with your answers. Throw in a joke or an anecdote if you are good at it. Nobody really reads footballers’ interviews who repeatedly blast out the most worn out phrases in the world. Nobody likes to hear about a bad game, but being sincere with the public is usually much better than being ignorant by saying: “We gave it our best, but they won…”
4. Ask before being asked
It may be helpful to know what the interview is about. Ask the journalist how he imagined his piece. You may be able to help him, guide him to an even better story if you see from the very start that he really doesn’t have a good idea in mind. It is also good to know when and how your interview will be published. It may be obvious, but if it isn’t – ask. If the interview is about something you don’t feel comfortable talking about, tell this to the journalist.
5. It is never bad to look good
A picture tells a thousand words. Come dressed for the occasion! Choose your clothes depending on the interview: think about what kind of audience it is, where the interview will be held … It may happen that there will be no camera involved, but it is still better to be prepared. There is nothing worse than refusing to be pictured/filmed. Saying “no” to pictures during an interview is almost like saying “no” to the interview itself. It is never bad to look good, right?
Part 2 (coming soon):
▶ When the record machine is on …