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  1. Who talks? Whoever says it best and can make a point in a 10- or 20-second sound-bite or quote. Front-line workers have a great deal of credibility with the public.

  2. Be prepared. Think what questions you might be asked and how you might answer them. No comment wastes an opportunity to get your message out.

  3. If you dont know, dont make it up. Tell the reporter you will get back to them.

  4. Listen carefully. If you dont understand the question, ask the reporter to repeat it.

  5. Need a little time? Ask the reporter to repeat the question while you are thinking of how you will phrase your comment.

  6. Avoid yes/no answers. The reporter wants you to tell your story.

  7. Expect repetitive questions. Its a technique to get short, jargon-free answers from you.

  8. Appearances. Dont wear gaudy clothing. Dont chew gum. Skip sunglasses and hats that shadow eyes. Wear your union button where the camera can pick it up.

  9. Remain calm. Turn negative questions into positive answers.

  10. Stress your main point. “Ill have to speak with my members before commenting on that point but what I can say is (and stress your main message again in another way).”

Interview tips

  • Know what you want to communicate
  • Gear your message to your target audience
  • Listen carefully
  • Speak as naturally as possible, using clear language
  • Quick, direct answers are more effective
  • Use concrete examples. Experience is more persuasive than rhetoric
  • Avoid scripted answers. One good quip is better than an excellent speech.
  • When you have answered the question, stop
  • Talk about “we” and “our members” rather than “they”
  • Emphasize broader communitys interest
  • Be comfortable
  • Watch your ums and ahs
  • Beware the “What youre saying is” from a reporter
  • Look at the interviewer, not the camera
  • Speak the truth. Never lie.
  • Dont get bogged down in details
  • Dont hesitate to repeat your main message