How to Nail Your Next Media Interview

A colleague recently asked me about the key to a successful media interview. When I answered, “stop talking,” she laughed and said, “That sounds so simple.” It is. As I always say: to nail your next media interview, think “period” not “comma.”

Much like perfect is the enemy of good, a comma is the enemy of a good media interview. When a reporter asks you a question, answer it. Period. DO NOT start talking again just to fill up the space.

Maybe silence makes you nervous, or maybe you think if you do all the talking you’re in control. But the truth is, the more you talk, the higher your chances of veering off into uncharted, stormy message waters that have very little to do with the actual question. 

When I’m training executives for media interviews and appearances, this is my main weapon:

When I hold up this period post-it, it's time to end your sentence.
When I hold up this period post-it, it’s time to end your sentence.

It’s a very effective training technique, actually. Many of my clients end up making their own period post-its if I cannot be there to staff their interviews.

The bottom line: folks who consistently do great interviews practice message discipline. And that means saying what they came to say and nothing more.


  1. says

    LOL. Good advice – having been on the reporter side of things, we like clear, concise statements with periods at the end of them too. We’re looking for short, punchy, memorable quotes that we can include in articles to help readers understand something. The advice I’ve given people is not to say “the [blank] was great” but to use specific details about what was so great about it.

  2. says

    Good stuff, Joe! And anytime you want to send us a guest post that might help our clients understand the reporter side of things, please do 🙂

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