Give Good Interviews

Turn potential supporters into enthusiastic volunteers, activists, and philanthropists by using the media effectively. When preparing for an interview, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Before agreeing to an interview, ask questions. Find out what the interviewer’s purpose is, how you fit in, who else will be present, how long the interview will last, who their audience is, etc. Anyone with good intentions will have no problem providing you with that information. It is also okay to request a list of the questions you will be asked or the topics to be covered. Avoid being surprised.
  • Know your audience. What about your work would interest them? What are they capable of contributing? What are the next steps they need to take? If you can craft compelling answers to these questions, then your message will educate and inspire them. Make your message direct, concise, and memorable so that your audience will have a clear understanding of your mission and how they can be involved.
  • Know what you want to say and stick to your message. Once you have created your message, do not get distracted. If questions begin to drift into areas that do not reinforce your message, then assertively refocus the discussion with phrases that identify side issues and lead back to your message.
  • Whenever possible, include spokespersons who have firsthand experience with your program. Get the deliverers and recipients of your services to tell their stories; help them stay focused in their remarks, but allow them to be natural. These people embody the reasons why your work is needed and effective. Share them with the world.
  • Be pleasant. If your audience finds you agreeable, then they are likely to be receptive to what you say. So stay cool, calm, and collected—no matter what. After the interview, thank the interviewer; you may well want to send a note expressing your gratitude.
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