Telephone Interviews With Reporters | Public Speaking | Presentation Skills

The phone rings and a reporter wants to interview you over a telephone. It seems simple enough, right?

A lot of people mistake the fact that an interview over the phone is somehow be easier than a television interview. It may seem easier but it is not. In fact, the stakes are the same: you want the quotes and messages that are important to you in the story. You do not want quotes that make you look ridiculous or stupid.

Here is how I suggest you prepare for interviews over the telephone. First of all, you have to give it the same level of seriousness and importance that you would if you had to go on prime time National TV and by that I mean really come up with three great solid messages, half a dozen sound bites, and a lot of practice on video.

I know that it sounds crazy because the reporter interviewing you over the phone is not going to see you so why should you practice on video? The reason is because it helps you to figure out things that you like in what you are saying and make sure you are not saying anything silly and are putting in all the sound bites that will not come back to haunt you later.

I also recommend you to have a single sheet of paper with you during the interview with your important points and outline. Checking your social media accounts during the interview is flirting with disaster so only focus on one thing at a time. If you have all of your messages and sound bites written in front of you you do not even have to worry about memorizing it.

Every time your audio is being captured in an interview you should stand while doing it as you will have more energy, you will breathe deeper, and you will sound more engaging. Another trick you can use is to stand in front of a mirror during the interview and smile because a smile can make your voice sound more confident comfortable and upbeat.

2 thoughts on “Telephone Interviews With Reporters | Public Speaking | Presentation Skills

  1. hecate

    First, although I’ve done a lot of these, the idea of a mirror to remind me to smile was new to me and I know it will be helpful! And maybe I will add to the mirror a sign that says “Relax! Breathe! Smile!” like the sign I keep on my podium when I’m speaking :).

    I would add that when possible, ask the reporter if s/he is willing to give you at least a few of the questions to be asked, since I’ve found some reporters come out of left field with questions seemingly unrelated to the topic promised. This assumes you even have time to prepare, which is of course most desirable; every once in a while, you get ambused by a reporter saying s/he needs the interview NOW! Still working on getting comfortable with that one.

    1. TJ Walker Post author

      Thanks for sharing. I always like to ask what topics the reporter wants to address but never the questions. Most reporters don’t know the questions in advance or don’t like to share them in advance.

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