Preparing for a media interview can seem daunting all on its own but what if you are interrupted halfway through your carefully prepared answers. Because interruptions are a common part of a media interview one of the best ways to deal with them is to prepare for them.
Media Interview Skills
One of the most well-known examples of media interview interruptions was when John Humphrys interviewed and then interrupted the then Home Secretary David Blunkett a total of thirty times in only eleven minutes! While most spokespeople will not have challenges on that scale interruptions can and do happen and a good media interview technique is needed to adequately deal and respond with the interruptions.
Expect the unexpected
Expecting to be interrupted and to plan on how you will deal with it is one of the best ways to handle an interruption. If you expect it to happen, you won’t be caught off guard or seem unsure of what to say, instead you can put into practice what you had been preparing if this was to happen. Ensuring you deal with the interruption and then go on to continue the point you were making so the audience gets a full picture of what you want them to hear.
Avoid the Interruption
Another technique to help deal with interruptions in a media interview is to reduce the chances of the interruption happening in the first place. If an interviewer asks a direct question, try and give a direct answer, this avoids them trying to stop you and interrupt at a later point to return to their direct question. Avoid being evasive and they will be less likely to interrupt with direct questions if they think you are being clear and concise in your answers. In addition, avoid rambling or answering too many points in a single exchange as this can get muddled and make the interviewer come back for clarity or for questions they think they have missed.
Stay calm and collected
Don’t let an interruption get you off track, take a little time to rethink what you are saying and use bridging phrases until you are back on the track you want to be on. Stay calm and don’t look rattled, if you show you are irritated at the interruption this can quickly escalate with the interviewer so keep calm and carry on.
It may not be in a one to one interview where you are interrupted it could be when you are part of a panel and so it could be another spokesperson or a member of the public or audience who is interrupting or challenging what you are trying to say. Try not to get annoyed and stay calm, never interrupt anyone else and wait your turn to speak as good interviewers will ensure everyone get the same amount of time to share their views.
Dealing with interruptions in a media interview is just one of the aspects we can cover in our media training courses. We provide tough but fair scenarios where you can test out what you have learned and feel confident and prepared with the skills you need to deflect, defend or simply clearly answer the next interruption you receive.