Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ms. Say What?

Hi Ms. Joy,

My first interview went all wrong. I don’t know what happened. The reporter and I got along incredibly and we talked for hours about my life and my background. We also talked about funny, everyday life stuff and shared stories with each other. I was so relaxed and thought I did great but when I got the interview all my quotes were wrong and the things I thought were the most important got completely left out. What did I do?

Ms. Say What? in San Francisco

Ms. Say What,

What happened to you can happen to anyone. It sounds like you said too much and got off subject. Often, we think that the most important thing to know for an interview is how to be verbose but, a lot of times the real knowledge is in knowing when to stop talking. While you’re being chatty and personable, you want to stick to the facts, drive your points home and not get misquoted.

It’s easy to get relaxed, distracted, and start giving the reporter too much background. By the time you finish, the article is about the time you wrecked the family car on prom night instead of your forthcoming project. It’s easier to stay on point if you give yourself a game plan in the form of a Fact Sheet.

Fact Sheets are simple. They are one page of bullet pointed facts (hence, fact sheet, ahem) that are concise and easy to read. Each fact should be one sentence in length. Keep it simple to memorize so you can recall these points quickly and effortlessly. This will help you stay on subject even if your interviewer wanders off.

Plus, you can always send the fact sheet to the journalist when you confirm your interview. This will help them know exactly what the key messages are and help them shape the story. They may even ask you questions straight off the fact sheet. That practically makes it a cheat sheet.

Outline the facts, memorize them and stick to them. Hopefully you won’t find yourself reading another article about YOU wondering, “Did I say that?”

Keep rising!


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