If the media contact you
Don’t be rushed. You are under no obligation to give an interview there and then. Don’t start an interview until you have found out:
- Who is calling
- What publication or broadcaster they represent
- What they want
- How long an interview it will be
- What else it will be used with
Don’t do it off the cuff. Take their telephone number and say you will ring back in a few minutes: “I’m in a meeting …”, “I want to gather my thoughts…”, “I’ve got someone with me at the moment …” . Make sure you do ring back.
In the meantime think it over, or better still talk about it with someone else. Spend a minute or two being suspicious. Is there a damaging angle concealed in the call? What media organisation is the caller from? Is it one likely to give you a fair hearing?
Also think about whether you are the best person to handle the interview. Is there someone else in your organisation who is better at thinking on their feet?
If there is a definite reason not to do the interview, ring the caller back and tell them you can’t, “I don’t have enough information…I’m really not the right person…”
Remember, though, what you have been offered is effectively a free commercial as long as you use the opportunity to your best advantage.
If you decide to go ahead - prepare what you are going to say.
Identify one or two main points. It’s impossible to talk about every aspect of your work so decide on your key priorities. Find ways to say things simply and positively. You words will be edited down if you don’t. If you have a reason to be suspicious, write out a short statement and stick to it. Otherwise, just jot down some notes to keep you on track. Don’t just read them out – you’ll sound wooden and unconvincing.