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Interview Tips

Being interviewed by a reporter can be stressful, especially the first time. The key to reducing any jitters is to do your homework. Once you know what to expect and what a reporter expects of you, you can begin to relax.

Most reporters will do their best to help you feel at ease, whether it's an interview during a live broadcast or an interview for a magazine article. Below are some suggestions that will help you feel like a pro.

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What should I say?

  • Keep your comments and explanations brief and express yourself so that the average reader, viewer or listener will understand you.
  • Put complex thoughts into simple sentences.
  • Use simple words.
  • Don't use jargon or acronyms.
  • Use concrete examples.
  • Don't say "no comment." Explain why you can't answer a particular question.
  • Never give false or misleading information.
  • NEVER, NEVER go "off the record." Assume that anything and everything you say will appear in print or on the air.
  • If you're asked a question that you can't answer, just say you don't know the answer, but you'll try to find out. When you have an answer, respond to the person conducting the interview as quickly as you can.
  • When you finish your answer, stop talking. Don't broaden the topic.

Television, Radio Interviews

  • Ask in advance about the length of the interview. Also. will the interview be live or taped?
  • Make sure you're there on time. The program will be broadcast, whether you're there or not. Be prepared to provide a very brief summary of your qualifications and background.
  • Please make certain that the university's full name - the University of Louisiana at Lafayette - or the only approved acronym, UL Lafayette, is understood by the journalist, with proper spelling and reference. 
  • Dress professionally and comfortably. Avoid lots of jewelry or accessories.
  • Avoid stripes or black on white clothing.
  • Smile when appropriate.
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Try to relax.
  • Stand or sit still.
  • Use natural gestures when it's appropriate.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.


  • Be on time for the interview and ask how long the reporter expects your discussion to last.
  • Try to make the most important points as early as you can.
  • Repeat your main points twice, when possible.
  • Since print journalists can explore subjects in depth, be prepared to provide background information that will help him or her to put your comments in a context.
  • Be as brief and concise as possible.
  • Don't be concerned if the reporter records the interview. The tape will enable him or her to review your comments for clarification. A recording can actually help a reporter write a more accurate article.