A Reporter Calls: How Do You Act?

Here are some special considerations to take into account if you are being interviewed over the telephone by a reporter:

  • Never launch into an interview on the spur of the moment. Instead, make arrangements to call the reporter back. You need time to organize your thoughts and consider what message you want to convey.
  • Write down the reporter’s name and the media outlet for which she works and keep it in front of you. This helps keep you centered while avoiding calling someone the wrong name.
  • Ask what specific topic she wants you to talk about. You can even ask for a list of potential questions, though most experienced reporters will refuse this request.
  • Determine her deadline. You need to know how much time you have to corral the needed information.
  • Find out who else she has talked to. Learn, for instance, whether she has already talked with your adversaries and heard their point of view.
  • Ask your communications expert to sit in on the interview. Let the reporter know that someone else is on the call with you. Your communicator can play “the heavy” if the interview begins to drift, agreed-upon time limits have been reached, or follow up is necessary.

Stand up during your interview, or at least sit up straight. Slouching reduces your energy level and weakens your voice. And remain alert, as you would in any business deal.