1) Be ready to be interviewed. Within a given organization, pick the person who is articulate and personally engaging, who can easily avoid getting provoked by conflict-engendering journalists. It is most important to pick the person who will sound positive and instill confidence in strangers that your event will take place, or that your product will be delivered.
2) Be sure of your facts. Anticipate the questions likely to be asked and write out your replies. Do not memorize
them–the fact that your brain has formulated the sentences beforehand will help you quickly recall answers.
3) Outline your agenda. Jot down a quick outline of what you want to say in the interview (this does not always coincide with the journalist’s agenda) and memorize phrases that will get you out of trouble. Some journalists will try to sensationalize the story. Don’t let them change the focus of the interview to their perception of “personality flaw which compels you to become involved with X.”
a) Just say “I think it is really important to focus on the issue of……” (Don’t make ad hominem arguments. Stick to the issues. The focus of the conversation should not become the conflict of whether you want to answer that or whether you should answer that, but rather move the conversation forward to what you feel needs to be said).
b) Unscrupulous journalists like to polarize and portray issues in black and white, good vs. evil, and generally like to simplify. A person may have a viewpoint that is slightly different from yours but is still compatible. Nevertheless, some journalists will paint it as an either/or, fight-to-the-death situation. Unless you are promoting your memoirs, you don’t ever have to allow the journalists to get personal. Remember: You can stay in control of the interview.