Tips to prepare for a spontaneous interview about current events
By Kelly Huston, Deputy Executive Director, California Public Utilities Commission


Are you ready for the spontaneous interview questions brought on by a current national or international disaster?  Read on to learn Kelly’s tips on how to get ready for a spontaneous interview about a challenging topic.

Tips to Prepare for a Spontaneous Interview about Current Events

  • Find out the type of show (news, opinion, entertainment) and what specific topic they’re interested in exploring
  • Ask who else will be interviewed: this helps determine if you’ll be pitted against someone that has an contrary opinion
  • Now, ask yourself the very simple question, “Why am I doing this interview?” and answer it honestly to yourself.  This helps you focus on the real reason you’re doing it.  (ie – I think we need to encourage people to prepare for earthquakes)
  • If you have time, read, watch or listen to news broadcasts focusing on the topic and see how they’re covering it.  This allows you to focus your responses in a way that “fits in” rather than risking the appearance you’re a detached government worker with no soul
  • Develop simple talking points with your message and support them with interesting and relevant facts that will relate to the story they’re covering.
  • Practice, practice, practice!  I often do it in the car on the way to the interview.  I ask myself the questions I think the reporters are going to ask and then answer them out loud so I can refine the message. This works better than you think.
  • Relax and realize that you’ll be okay – they can’t reach through the TV and strangle you.  They are hoping you’ll say something interesting, even give a unique perspective that will help them make their story interesting to their viewers. On their end, it’s all about ratings and if you’re boring, they’re never asking you back.

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