Avoiding the Rabbit Hole


Eventually, you will be interviewed by a writer. An opportunity to tell your story, this is a crucial moment to get that story straight.

I’ve interviewed business executives, entrepreneurs, police officers, young professionals, Olympian athletes, community leaders and more. From this experience, I’ve learned what makes a great interview, and what makes it great to read.

I want to help your next interview tell the story you want the world to know.

These few tips will help you avoid the places where people usually get stuck.

It’s a compliment.

If you’re being interviewed for a feature, most of the time it’s because you did something right or something to get noticed. This is a good thing. Of course, do your due diligence. Perhaps the entity the writer represents is not in your best interests to support. That is okay. Once you decide to proceed with an interview, realize its potential to be a really positive opportunity, and treat it as such. Attitude is everything.

Be comfortable.

Being nervous is normal, but if it causes tension, it could limit the success of your interview. If meeting at your office makes you comfortable, do that. If meeting for coffee or drinks helps, do that. Although, keep it to one shot of tequila, friends. Any more than that, and you’ll forget what question was asked, and you open up about that semester in Italy. Yikes.

Say what you mean.

It helps if you know the context of the article beforehand. Jargon and an expansive vocabulary aren’t necessary, especially if you use a word incorrectly. Talk about what you know. Additionally, if you say the word “damn” in a really awesome quote, be ready for that to be printed. If it’s a commissioned piece in which you paid the writer, you’ll be safe. But if you’re going in the Metropreneur or Columbus CEO, be wary of your language unless it’s how you want to be represented.

Avoid the rabbit hole.

Good interviewers ask open-ended questions. Be prepared to have answers. Be yourself, but be conscious that everything you say is game for being repeated. Again… if the semester in Italy becomes the interview focus, what do you think the article will be about? Probably some connection the writer derives from that experience to your current endeavor. So stay on topic. Best practice would be to have some flexible talking points in mind, not to discuss word for word, but as a basis for your goals of the interview.


What would you add to this list?

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