Recently, I helped teach a symposium in New York City to people who want to become better at television interviews… a 3-day deep dive on TV interview tips… everything from how to dress, prepare, stay on topic, handle tough questions, and defend a controversial point of view.
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oday, I share with you some of what they learned—part of a series on TV interview tips I’ll be sending you during the coming weeks. Why should you care? If you are a candidate running for office, a good television interview will advance your campaign. It could also destroy it if you are ill-prepared. Even if you are not a candidate, a TV interview is a priceless way to spread your message and advance your cause.
Today’s topic is the pre-interview preparation—TV interview tips about what you need to know before the interview:
#1. Decide the central point of what you want your audience to remember from your interview. If you are the author of a book, the audience needs to know the title, where to buy it, and what they will get out of it if they read it. If you are a candidate and the subject is immigration, the audience needs to know your point of view, why you believe it will advance the republic and three simple ways to make it happen.
#2. Make sure you know the setting of the interview. Will you be seated? Standing at a table? Closeted in a room by yourself while you are asked questions through an earpiece? Standing somewhere in a parking lot with a microphone in your face? How long will you be on the air? Is it live or taped?
#3. What is the format? Is it a one-on-one exchange with an interviewer? Or are you debating someone who will have a different point of view? Or, are you part of a panel where there will be a free exchange of opinions?
#4. Who is doing the interview? It is imperative to know this because you need to know their style, how they have conducted other interviews, the kinds of questions they usually ask, whether they interrupt their guests with questions or allow them to talk freely.
Why do you need to know these items before the interview? The same reason a football player needs to know the rules of the game before they walk on the field. You cannot properly prepare, and you will not be at your best if you don’t know the setting, the rules of engagement, the personalities and the way your host plays the game.
Next time I’ll have some TV interview tips on how to prepare once you know the rules— how to dress, anticipate difficult questions, how to comport yourself during the interview and some TV interview tips on body language.
Have some thoughts you’d like to share? Hit the comment button. If you send me a question I will answer.
Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
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