One important factor in mastering interviews with journalists – and be able to answer them well – is being able to spot what type of question you’re being asked.
Once you can do that, you can work out the best way to answer it well, in a way that delivers your key messages effectively.
There are two basic types of question: open and closed.
An example of an open question might be:
‘Tell me about how you became a journalist?’
‘What is the best way to tackle a live TV interview?’
They generally begin with the words ‘Who …?’, ‘What …?’, ‘How…?’, ‘Why …?’ and asked you to explain something.
There’s normally no way you can answer these questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Very often, the first question you’re asked in an interview will be a fairly general open one, and is a great opportunity to state your case, and deliver your key messages.
An example of a closed question might be:
‘Do you think that Rough House provides a good media training courses?’
Does Rough House also offer video production as one of its services?’
A closed question is one that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
The way to spot these is that they generally invert the pronoun and verb in a sentence, so they might start with ‘Is it …?’, ‘Do you …’, ‘Will you …?’, ‘Have you …?’ or ‘Has your …?’.
When you answer them, make sure you expand on what you’re saying and don’t just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, particularly in a print interview where your answer might be turned into a quote by the journalist anyway.
For more help perfecting how you answer questions in media interviews, call us on 020 8332 6200 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.