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Monday, March 26, 2012

May I Quote You?

Last year during a break at an Editor’s Day conference, a reporter for the Mid-south SCBWI newsletter Borderlines approached me for an interview.  We had five minutes before the session began again.  Attendees were returning to their seats and the speaker moved toward the podium.  Whoa---too much pressure.  Brain freeze set in.  I felt rushed in this setting.  I should have arranged for another time to meet with her.  Nonetheless, given the circumstances, I gave it my best.  

Afterward, I realized that I’m more comfortable with questionnaires sent in advance.  That way, I can ponder the questions more thoroughly and give thoughtful answers.  And, I can edit my responses.  But sometimes that’s not an option.  Deadlines may be a factor.  Therefore, phone interviews and in-person interviews may be necessary. 

So what can you do when you have the distinct pleasure of being interviewed? How can you give a good interview?  Here are some tips:

For interviews in person or over the phone:

*Give yourself ample time to do the interview. 
*Ask the reporter to repeat or reword the question if it’s vague or unclear.
*Speak slowly.
*Pause within sentences for emphasis.
*Be enthusiastic and let it show through your voice inflections. 

For interviews by email:
*Read the questions several times. Be sure that you understand what is being asked.
*Take time to write thoughtful answers.  
*Allow someone you trust to review your answers.
*Hold your answers for at least a day.  Read them again before sending them back.
*Write your answers in a different color font so that they can be more easily read.   

One last thought:  It’s flattering to be asked for an impromptu interview, but make sure you feel comfortable given the time allotted and the setting.  Both can influence your responses. You’re going to be quoted.  Other people are going to read your responses and may even judge you by your words. 

You can quote me on that.

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