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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #30: March, 2006

make the most out of an interview

How to make the most out of an interview, print or broadcast:

  1. Create 3-4 "sound bites" you want to include to promote your business, no matter what you're asked. Make sure you include them. For example, if one sound bite is "we are the leaders in team building," and you're asked, "What is the key element in organizational productivity?" reply with, "Well, I have to tell you that we're known as the leaders in team building, because we feel it is THE key to…."
  2. Ask if the interviewer would like information about your firm and clients prior to the interview.
  3. Forward a list of "typical questions" that the interviewer might want to use on the subject. (Many interviewers are notoriously lazy and welcome these aids.)
  4. Do some homework on the interviewer so that you can compliment him or her if at all possible. (Use Google, or the station or the print source for background.)
  5. Ask permission to review the print interview, not for editorializing (which they won't allow) but for accuracy. If that's not possible, ask that a fact checker clear all details with you.
  6. Ask whether the broadcast source will record the interview for you, which would be the highest quality way to do it. Sometimes they will if you provide the media.
  7. Send the interview to your client list, using the original media if possible, but transcribing broadcast interviews if necessary.
  8. Use the interviews in an "interview kit" which you can send to prospective media sources. You can create a hard copy booklet, an electronic file, and even a CD or DVD of broadcast interviews. With some thoughtful editing and opening material, these can look stunningly professional and impressive.
  9. In your bio, list the most impressive interview sources, e.g., "She has been interviewed by National Public Radio, CNN, the Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal, among others."
  10. Use an interview source's accolades to enhance your credibility, e.g., "He has been cited by The New York Post as one of the most highly respected independent consultants in America."
  11. Build your brand. Repeat your brand at least once every ten minutes or so. Or plug your books. "Well, when I was doing research for 'Top Leaders in the World' I found that…" Or: "The reason they call me The Contrarian is…."
  12. Never interrupt the interviewer, and try to compliment him or her, as in, "I've never been asked that question before…." Or "You hit that right on the head!" Broadcast interviewers, especially, have huge egos.
  13. If you know the date, let your mailing list know when you'll be on the air or in print. I was once called by someone who watched me on a repeat on CNN at 5 in the morning, Pacific time.
  14. Learn from each interview. If you were taken by surprise, or speechless, or taken off track, examine why and improve. (This is why recordings and transcripts can be very important to you, personally.)
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