3 questions that can trip up your media interview

Some journalists will intentionally throw curveballs to try and knock your spokesperson off his or her game and make a salient mistake. Here’s how to prepare for probing reportage.

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Reporters can be a wily bunch. In their efforts to get to the truth, bottom of the story, real deal, or the inside skinny, they just might let slip a tricky question.

If you are on the receiving end of such an inquiry, the last thing you want to blurt out a less-than-ideal answer. As a spokesperson, you must know the types of tricky questions reporters ask and how to answer them.

Here are three kinds of questions you should prepare for:

1. The ones that stump you

In any given interview, a question may challenge your recall. A reporter might not necessarily be trying to stump you, but her question leaves you flat-footed, nevertheless.

Unless the interview is a challenging one or is hostile, the fact that you don’t know an answer shouldn’t provoke undue anxiety. You have several options.

Option No. 1 – A simple “I don’t know” might suffice. If you have the time and resources, you might say: “I don’t know, but I will get you that information and follow-up with a more complete answer.” This approach might not be enough if the reporter does not have the luxury of a follow-up interview, or the question concerns knowledge that you really should have had.

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