Events are finally back. After years of virtual events and remote gatherings, the opportunities for in-person networking and media interviews at major conferences are on the rise. While this is great news, especially for those tired of being interviewed by journalists from behind a computer screen, interviewing at live events can pose challenges. Here are three tips for making sure you are interviewing at your best while at events:
- Preparation remains key
The most valuable tip is likely the most predictable – but no less important – is preparation. More unknowns surround in-person interviews at industry events than with virtual interviews popularized during the pandemic. Interview locations and times may change, big news could break, and even the reporter with whom you are to speak could change at the last minute. While it is impossible to be prepared for every outcome, a solid set of talking points and a few practice runs with a colleague before the cameras are on will help you interview your best.
- Appearances matter
The return to in-person interviews means extra attention needs to be paid to not only looking presentable, but to looking good for an interview. This means keeping the medium in mind. If you are going to be on camera, avoid large flashy or distracting jewelry, green clothing that could confuse green screen editing and tight plaid patterns. If you are being recorded for a podcast, then clothing that clicks or jingles should also be avoided, as the audio editors will already be working to reduce the background noise of the event.
- Remain flexible
All interviews should be scheduled in advance of the conference if possible, and most of the time, this will be enough to ensure a smooth interview process. However, plans change, flights are missed, locations move and any of a dozen other things can happen to disrupt an otherwise well-planned interview. With more logistical issues involved, changes like these are more likely at an in-person event. As a result, it is important to stay in contact with the journalists involved before and immediately preceding the interview. Also, consider carrying a portable battery and charging cable, just in case you need to quickly coordinate a change of plans on a low phone battery.
Of course, in addition to the tips above, what many interviewees find invaluable in coordinating and conducting interviews at conferences is a good public relations agency as a partner. A good PR team can coordinate everything ahead of time, assist in navigating the process, prepare talking points, provide media training, assist with the in-person logistics and any last-minute chances and, of course, quickly step in if anything should go wrong.
The return to in-person events means a return to event interviews. These can often be some of the most impactful pieces of media produced each year for your organization. By remaining prepared, flexible and knowledgeable of the challenges of in-person interviews, you will put yourself in the best possible position for successful, positive coverage.