4 ways to seize control of any interview

The journalist conducting the sit-down doesn’t have all the power. Here are four techniques for staying on message no matter how tough or far afield the questions get.

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It’s a common misperception that journalists are solely responsible for crafting an interview.

Many executives relinquish control, only to suffer later from “interview remorse.” They wonder why the resulting article didn’t include the details they felt were important, or they regret the positioning of the company or product.

This remorse often stems directly from the interviewee’s disappointment that the journalist didn’t ask pertinent questions. The spokesperson will complain that the reporter “didn’t get it” or “doesn’t understand the space” instead of taking responsibility for educating the interviewer and driving the conversation.

Here are four ways to flip the script and drive better interviews:

1. Have an agenda.

Ask yourself:

Every interview is both an opportunity and a risk. To be prepared you must know the reporter, know his or her work, know the outlet, know its audience and, most important, know what you want to achieve.

2. Establish clear, concise messages.

Once you have your agenda, identify your top three messages. These elements should be woven into the interview and will serve as the key indicators of success.

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