Preparation Key to Successful Interview, Presentation

In my last job, I was frequently interviewed by television reporters, and I thought nothing of it.

Interview with 'Inside Edition' a few years ago.

Earlier this week, I gave an on-air interview for a cool project with my current job. I confess I was a bit nervous, but once the interview began, the butterflies left because I had done my prep work.

Whether you are going to be interviewed by a reporter or will be making a presentation for work be sure you’ve done your homework. Here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Audience or interviewer
  2. Message points
  3. Length of presentation or interview

Audience or interviewer: Who will hear your presentation? If it’s your board or executive team you will want to provide the highlights and the key take away. If it’s colleagues, you may want to share the process and lessons learned. In my case, I was speaking with a reporter so I did some background on the reporter to find out the types of stories she covers and her approach to interviewing. Because it was a morning show and I knew the reporter, I knew it would be straight forward and conversational with no surprises.

Message points: What are the key messages you want your audience to hear? Take the time to write them out so that when you are speaking or being interviewed they are firmly in your mind. During my interview, the reporter simply asked me to tell her about the campaign. Because I had already thought through my message points I was able to deliver on the three key points I wanted to make.

Length of presentation or interview: How long will you have to present or how long will the interview be? This determines the amount of preparation that you will need. One caveat, though, is to always over prepare. I try to anticipate all questions that will be asked. That way I’m ready for anything.