Giving a great interview

No matter what type of media you’re dealing with, the interview is your moment to shine.

Good preparation and confidence are the keys to a successful interview. Think about questions that may come up – especially tough ones – and how you will answer them. If a journalist calls out of the blue, you don’t have to do the interview right away. Even on a tight deadline, it’s OK to ask them to ring back in 15 minutes so you can work out what you want to say, check facts and make notes. If they want to interview you about a report or study you haven’t seen yet, ask for enough time to read it through.

Interview dos and don’ts

Keep your answers brief and conversational. Speak slowly and try to avoid ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’.

Stop when you have answered the question, don’t ramble on. It’s the interviewer’s job to keep the conversation flowing, not yours.

Be prepared, but don’t script answers – that will sound stilted and unnatural.

Don’t use jargon or overly exact numbers.

Do use interesting analogies and examples.

If you don’t feel comfortable answering a question, say so but then return to one of your main points. For example: “I don’t have that information at hand, but what I can tell you is…”

TV interviews 

  • Be well dressed and don’t wear anything distracting such as a loud tie or dangly earrings.
  • Relax and don’t fidget.
  • Look at the interviewer, not the camera – they represent your audience.
  • Where appropriate, be expressive about your science. Convey your passion, excitement, disappointment or frustration.


Back to Working with media