OK, it doesn’t normally happen. Normally you would have longer to prepare for an interview.  But this time that wasn’t the case. This time our client, The UK’s StartUp Partner, had just 5 minutes before she went live on the BBC, and it was certainly a first for us!

The interview took place 24 hours before we were expecting, due to an innocent and inadvertent error by the producer.  It’s enough to rattle the most experienced spokesperson, yet our client breezed through it with barely a hair out of place.  As usual, in the days leading up to the interview, Bare briefed its client and talked through questions that might be asked.  We talked about trending topics, keeping an eye on breaking news and so on. So far so good.  But any media professional will tell you, you can never be in full control, and you have to expect the odd curveball.  And wow was this a curveball!

So how do you come through something like this unscathed? How can you ace that media interview, even with only 5 minutes before you are put on the spot?

Our top tips for the perfect media interview

Keep up to date
Stay on top of the news, both generally, and in your sector and you stand far less chance of being caught out. You should know what people are talking about in your industry, and be able to discuss the pressing issues.  Your PR agency should send you regular updates to help you with this to ensure you never get left behind.

Tap into your energy
Keep up the energy when you are being interviewed and tap into the natural enthusiasm and passion for what you do. This will set the scene for a positive interview, which will rub off on the interviewer and endear you to your audience.  It will also help calm the nerves!

Be succinct
Don’t be tempted to ramble as it may lead you into deep water. When making points, keep them short and succinct and don’t feel you have to fill any natural gaps in the conversation.  The most powerful interviews use memorable and short phrases that stick in people’s minds.

Use examples
It always pays to keep a few examples in your backpocket. These should back up what you are saying and add detail that reinforces your credibility. No one can argue with personal experience and if you have one or two powerful case studies to share, these will always serve you well.

Don’t stray from your area of expertise
Interviewers may ask you questions that you simply don’t have the knowledge or insight to comment on. That’s fine and it’s perfectly ok to politely decline.  Aim to stick well within your sphere of expertise so that you can firmly position yourself as the go-to spokesperson in your sector.

The key to any good conversation is to listen carefully and acknowledge what the other person is saying.  It can work well to emphasise a point the interviewer has made and echo their views if they back up your story or argument.  Always be respectful and avoid getting drawn into a combative conversation.

Maintain a good relationship
Make sure you thank the interviewer for the opportunity and follow up with a thank you email.  It’s also a good idea to connect with them on social media channels. Your PR agency should also send a note to the producer to make the most of future opportunities.

If you have any questions about our advice or wish to discuss an upcoming interview, please let us know how we can help.