Controlling the interview – 2

Of course, if you keep repeating the last example of blocking and transitioning, the interviewer is going to get mightily fed-up. Or think they’re talking to a robot.

You need some other ideas of how to move the interview away from danger and onto the safety of your planned messages and proof points. One thing is certain, you have to be firm. It’s no good saying, "I’d rather not talk about that." It leaves the door open. The journalist, especially a news one, might fire back with, "well I rather would."

Here are some suggestions of how you might lead into the transition with a block:

"That is not my area"
"I am not in a position to comment"
"No, I can't answer the question"
"Look, you know I can't"
"I don't know"

You can follow any of them up with, "But I’m sure your readers would be interested in…"

If you’re a confident sort of person and you think you have useful information the journalist hasn’t, you might try one of these:

"Let's look at this from a broader perspective…"
"Another, more important concern is…"
"Let's not lose sight of the underlying problem…"
"The real issue is…"

Your aim, when heading for trouble, is to move the journalist to one of your favoured topics. And to hook their interest in it. And, as we saw earlier, this can only be done if you are clear about your messages, the person you’re talking to and their audience. It also means using your supporting evidence to show the journalist that this wasn’t just some Houdini-like escape from trouble, it was a genuine attempt to get to a win-win position for both of you.

Of course, life doesn’t always go according to plan, and journalists have their own little tricks.

More anon.

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