My role as a media consultant is to help those seeking media attention find it.  That includes coaching and preparing clients so they will be, what I call, “media marketable.”

But those seeking media attention aren’t the only ones who need tips.  Anyone who is or wants to be in the business of interviewing others should have their act together as well.

So here are some tips for those of you who want to give your best as the interviewer on the airwaves:

  • Never give your guest the questions in advance.   Many guests will try to give you a list of prepared questions.  It’s OK to accept them but let them know you may not ask any or all of them.  Giving them the questions in advance allows them to rehearse answers and not come across as natural during the interview.
  • Always check to make sure your equipment is working.
  • Treat the guest with respect.   The interviewee deserves respect whether they are the President or just an average Joe Blow.
  • Take control of the interview. Don’t let your guest over your show.
  • You are not the center of attention. Remember you are there to get the perspective of the guest not give your own.
  • Do the research you need to, but don’t try to cram it all into your questions. Before you start the interview put yourself in the shoes of a member of your audience. If they were here, what would they ask?
  • The interview is a conversation. It is not a confrontation. You are not there to make the interviewee look stupid. 
  • Shorter questions are better than longer ones. The more detail there is in the question the more difficult it is for the interviewee to track what you are asking. Be as direct as you can without being rude.
  • Be sure of your facts. There’s nothing worse than being told you are wrong by an interviewee – especially when it’s live.
  • Listen carefully to your guest’s responses.  You might come up with some follow-up questions.

Being credible as an interviewer means being professional and prepared.