Congratulations! You’ve sent your Press Release and your story/event/happening has garnered interest from the Media and you are now scheduled for an interview. What do you do now?
For most Introverts, this may feel like the only possible way to deal with this wonderful, yet stressful and challenging situation you find yourself in. As an Introvert you are very measured and careful with your ‘outside time’ or ‘on air’ time with social activities and interactions. An interview is already a heightened and high risk situation, never mind needing to be on the ball, on your mark and in the right mind space to speak concisely and clearly while aiming to have an engaged conversation with the interviewer who is most likely a complete stranger.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” You might think ” How am I ever going to get it all right?” ” I’m afraid I’m going to blank, mumble my words or say something really stupid!”
These are all valid fears – and as an introvert you have probably already learned that the best way to deal with these fears is to face them. Yup, face them head on. There is an Art to preparing and being ‘on the mark’ for interviews and as always practice makes perfect. So, if you’re lined up for your first interview, you will need to calm yourself, remember that you can DO this, and follow some simple steps to prepare yourself so you will KNOW you’ve done everything you can to ready yourself for the task ahead.
Step One: BREATHE – this is exciting, this is what you want, this is a FABULOUS thing! Enjoy your success and then breathe through your anxiety. You know it’s going to be there, but you’re going to move through it anyway – the best way to do this is BREATHE. Inhale – Exhale. Repeat.
Step Two: Gather information and research about the interview, journalists, media outlet and the purpose of the interview – what their goals are. The tone, tempo, style and execution of an interview depends entirely on the outlet. Radio Station Interviews are more casual and relaxed than Television. Some Radio stations are REALLY laid back, whereas some are more serious and information driven. Newspaper and phone interviews can be even more relaxed and casual since they are not live and are typically just gathering information. Prep yourself ahead of time. Your PR person will usually give you all the information you need if you are a spokesperson or the CEO of a company, but it is always good to do your own research so you know what to expect.
Step Three: Know the subject matter – if it is you, that is easy, be you. Don’t try to be anything but yourself. Lack of authenticity is integrity suicide in any interview. If you are yourself, you will respond naturally and be more comfortable. If the subject matter is about an event, or other happening – know your stuff. Make sure you know everything about the subject to be talked about and the audience you will be talking to – who is your message being delivered to? Know who they are, and talk directly to them.
Step Four: Practice for the interview with someone impartial and who can ask good questions. Your PR person is perfect for this if you need to rehearse before the interview. If you are on your own, record some questions and then play them back and answer them. REMEMBER: Be prepared for any question. Don’t rely on memorizing answers because the interview process is fluid – practice to relax, don’t practice to memorize.
Step Five: You are not in control – you cannot control media, and you won’t be able to control this process. Media have their own goals, and usually will prep you ahead of time because they want the interview to go smoothly as well. But, be prepared for anything. A good interview is one where you are answering questions with confidence, no matter what the question. Expect different environments, and ones that seem totally foreign to you. As an introvert this can be unsettling – but if you are prepared ahead of time to ‘go with the flow’ you will be golden. Expect the unexpected
Step Six: Dress professionally. Even if you are on radio, dress as you would for a job interview. Not only will you present yourself as the professional you are, you will feel more confident if you are dressed appropriately. If you are doing a TV interview you may be required to have makeup applied by their staff for the cameras – be prepared for this.
Step Seven: The Interview! The time has come, the countdown is coming and you are almost live and on air! The #1 BEST Thing you can do at this time is to forget everything that you SHOULD do and just relax and be yourself. You’ve GOT this. You’ve prepared yourself, you know your subject matter, you’re the spokesperson for a reason – its your time to shine. Introverts don’t usually enjoy the spotlight – but this is your time. Treat this moment as the special thing that it is – a celebration of you and your work. Relish in it. Listen carefully to questions and then respond. A trick I use is to take a breath in after the question has been asked. This tactic helps me to let the question in, calm down, and gather my thoughts before speaking. Then, speak clearly and slow. it. right. down – it will feel really slow to you, but that’s only nerves. Speaking slowly is very important so that your listeners can understand you, and you can allow time for your own thoughts to be expressed properly.
Before you know it the interview will be over and you will be giddy, excited and revved up. If you made any mistakes or tripped up – don’t dwell on it. Let it go – it is ALWAYS worse in your head than it actually was. Be positive and congratulate yourself on this victory. You’ve done it!
And then – be sure to get a picture for your archives! Here is one of ours below…
This process is always exciting, nerve wracking and unpredictable. The more you do it, the more you’ll get used to ‘rolling with it’ and trusting yourself. Because in reality, the only important thing in giving a FANTASTIC interview is for you to be confident in yourself, authentic and in the moment.
Everyone develops their own tips and tricks as they get really good at this process. If you have some of your own, share them with us in the comment section below!
Featured Image source: www.larsonpr.com