Trylon Communications  - December 2004

Seven Keys to a Successful Interview

Opportunities to get your companyís message to the public donít come easily. When you do have a chance to communicate via an interview, follow these tips to make the most of your moment in the spotlight.

  1. Keep it simple. Donít get caught up in industry-speak. As the poet William Butler Yeats once said, ďThink like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.Ē Avoid the use of flowery language or superlatives, and stay on topic.

  2. Donít BS. If confronted with a question that has you stymied, admit it and offer to provide the information at a later date. You canít undo a statement made in error.

  3. Talk to the audience. Remember that the interviewer represents an audience, and keep your responses geared toward the audience behind the person you are talking to.

  4. Stay focused. Donít let the interviewer catch you off base. Stick to your own agenda, using your own words. Donít lose your cool if things start to unravel. If anything, step back and take a deep breath.

  5. Highlight important points. When discussing issues of major importance, use a phrase to impart meaning to them, such as ďan important thing isÖĒ or ďthe key point isÖĒ

  6. Be prepared. When going into interviews, get to know something about the interviewers, their expertise, and their style. Make it a point to talk with them briefly to try to find out exactly what areas they want to cover, how they are approaching the interview, and what resources they are working from.

  7. Stick to your story. Just because the interviewer has an agenda doesnít mean you canít have one too. Decide in advance what areas you want to cover and be sure to have the facts at hand to back up your assertions. You can only steer the interview if you know where you want it to go.