Any communicator will tell you it’s important to be prepared for an interview, whether TV, radio or print, and know your talking points BEFORE you meet with the interviewer. Not only will this prepare you, but it ensures that you are getting the correct messaging and information to your audiences.
To help your team prepare for an interview, try some “interview improv” to keep your talking points up-to-date and creative. It’s also a great opportunity to fine-tune your skills to stay on topic when reporters try to redirect your attention to a different subject matter.
Interview Improv allows your team to fine-tune messages, plan responses in advance and practice answering questions on the spot to test your quick-thinking skills while keeping the creative juices flowing.
Here’s how to play, ideally with at least three people. The wider group will preselect a topic or scenario, such as a new service available at your business. Break up your team into three groups:
those answering the questions
*Defenders will help formulate questions for the Inquisitors and assisting the Knowledge Keepers with messaging. They will also witness the question and response and decide how key messages should be updated, refined or eliminated.
Once each group is set with questions and initial messages/responses, the game of improvisation can begin.
Inquisitors will begin asking their questions and occasionally using techniques that may catch Knowledge Keepers off guard or lure them to discuss an unrelated topic.
Knowledge Keepers will focus on responding quickly with creative and meaningful statements that stay on topic. While there are already messaging points laid out, try to think of new ones or how to tweak the points to a specific audience. Afterall, the game is called Interview Improve.
Knowledge Keepers also need to make sure the line of questioning doesn’t veer away from the topic at hand. If the topic does change, the Knowledge Keeper must bring the focus back to the initial topic with an appropriate response.
Defenders will monitor responses to see if they are accurate, should be reviewed and/or eliminated from the main talking points. Defenders will also decide when the line of questioning should stop to bring the whole group back together to discuss what went wrong and what was done correctly.
Interview Improv is a way to get the whole communication team involved in formulating messaging and keeping everyone on the same page. A fun and creative way to make sure talking points are still relevant and are understandable. Switch up who will be in each group to allow everyone a chance to learn and refine their skills.
Try this technique at your next media interview prep session.
Want a refresher on how to develop appropriate messages for interviews? Check out our interview prep guide.