How To Craft Successful Interview Answers

If you’re getting ready to take part in a media interview, then you’ll want to start preparing some effective interview answers. These will help you more confidently respond to any questions. As a subject matter expert, it’s likely that you’ll get asked about different areas of your specialty. However, you can’t expect to coast through without the proper preparation – especially if it’s set to be a hard-hitting conversation.

Planning your interview answers can help you feel confident that your next media interview will be a success, no matter what direction it ends up taking. No two interviews are the same, so it pays to be prepared for as many situations as possible.

How can I craft successful interview answers?

Typically, there are two reasons why you’ll be taking part in a media interview. Either you’ve put yourself forward for an interview to promote yourself/your business, or a media outlet has reached out to harness your expertise on a subject. The reason for the interview will shape the way the interviewer crafts their questions, but it will also affect the way you craft your answers.

If you’re doing a promotional interview, then you’ll want to tell your story as much as possible without boring the audience. Give yourself the time to unpack what you’ve achieved so far (and what you hope to achieve in the future) but try to stick to 30-60 second responses so the audience doesn’t lose focus. Understanding what parts of your story you want to emphasise will also help you craft your responses.

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Plan your responses before your next media interview so you feel confident. Image by Victoria Loveland from Pixabay

If the interview is centred around a news story (whether you’re involved in the story as a participant or commenting as an expert), then you’ll want to take a slightly different approach. 30-60 second answers are still key, but you’ll also want to ensure you’ve worked out what key messages you want to convey throughout the interview. It’s important that you don’t get tripped up by tricky questions from the interviewer, and ensuring you have a message will keep you on track even if there are a few curveballs thrown your way.

What are the various types of messaging I can use to craft my answers?

If you’re putting together a range of interview answers, then you’ll want to ensure you’re including viewpoints that display why you’re a thought leader in your space. Some ways that your answers can demonstrate expertise include: 

  • Explaining the benefits of what you’re discussing – show how what you’re talking about can help people
  • Highlight any problems/solutions – what issues are people facing and how can they be solved?
  • Outlining a vision – what does the future look like in your world?

Some interviews will be more focused on problems than solutions, but including answers that incorporate these different perspectives will help you come across as someone who’s looking for action and change, rather than someone who’s content with the status quo.

How can I use evidence to improve my interview answers?

In many situations, using evidence as part of your interview responses can help drive your points home. This is especially helpful if you’re a figure of authority or someone who is regularly discussing issues with the public.

Some types of evidence you can use in your answers include:

  • Stories from both yourself and members of the community
  • Statistics that are related to the topics you’re discussing
  • Case studies – examples of when your suggestions/points have made tangible changes in the world

While it might go without saying, it’s crucial when you’re preparing for an interview you make sure your evidence is all verifiable and comes from a trusted source. If it comes out that you’ve misquoted someone as evidence or your statistics are misleading, then it can be catastrophic for your image, as well as any organisations that are associated with the interview.

How does editing affect the way I should answer questions? 

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Know how outlets might edit your responses. Image by Macb3t from Pixabay

Different mediums have constraints on how the interview will be presented in its final form. Time constraints will often dictate the length of TV interviews and phone interviews, so it’s important to ensure you’re providing answers that are self-contained and snappy, rather than rambling. Print interviews often have more space afforded to the subject, but don’t highlight tone.

When preparing your interview answers, get a sense of how the interviewer and media outlet you’re speaking to normally handle the issue/industry you’re talking to them about. This will help you shape your responses while also ensuring you’re not going to get caught by surprise by some hardline questioning.

READ MORE: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Next Media Interview

If you’re struggling to prepare compelling interview answers for your next media appearance, you may want assistance from a seasoned media professional. Media Success can help turn your ideas into key talking points that will resonate with audiences everywhere. You can then practice delivering these talking points in simulated on-camera exercises that will increase your confidence heading into your next media interview. If you’re looking to find out more about our media services, click here, or get in contact with us at info@mediasuccess.com.au.

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