No matter who you are, interview is probably the most stressful part of the media relations process. For journalists and media personalities, it can be even more stressful when the person you are interviewing doesn’t practice what they preach and ends up sabotaging your story.
Here’s what you need to do when faced with an uncomfortable interview with a celebrity:
1. Be the bigger person
Sometimes, we get so focused on what we want to ask that we forget about the person we’re talking to. That’s why it’s so important to be the bigger person during an interview, even if you feel more comfortable talking to the person you’re interviewing. Being the bigger person will boost your self-esteem and make you feel better about the entire situation. It’s always better to be honest and say how you feel rather than pretending to be someone you’re not. When it comes to sensitive topics, it’s important to be mindful of how you carry yourself during the interview. Avoid looking or acting like a victim and try to maintain a professional and positive attitude at all times.
2. Set the agenda
An unscripted interview with a celebrity can feel chaotic and sometimes even awkward, especially when it goes off topic. To avoid that, set the agenda before the interview and be as specific as possible so there are no unpleasant surprises afterward. When choosing which topics to explore, it’s important to think about what’s relevant to the audience you’re aiming at. If you want to do a serious interview, go for topics that are relevant to your niche. However, if you want to do a more light-hearted interview, go for topics that the person you’re interviewing is more familiar with.
3. Prepare for the unexpected
No matter how much you prepare for an interview, things always happen that you didn’t expect. That’s why it’s important to be open-minded and anticipate the unexpected. An unscripted interview with a celebrity can be very unpredictable and even uncomfortable at times. Be ready to deal with anything that might come up and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on complicated subjects. Remember: the more you know, the less you have to learn on the spot.
4. Anticipate the worst
In addition to being unpredictable, an unscripted interview with a celebrity can be very self-absorbing. The interviewer can become so involved in their own story that they forget about the person they’re interviewing. To avoid that, it’s important to anticipate the worst. If you’re worried about offending the person you’re interviewing, be mindful of what you’re saying and do your best not to say the wrong thing. Even if you think your question will be constructive and not offensive, it’s still better to be safe than sorry. Asking general questions about the topic at hand can also help you figure out what’s relevant to your audience and help you get the most out of the conversation. This is especially important if you want to do a deeper dive into a certain topic and find the answers to your questions. Asking questions also keeps the conversation going and gives the person you’re interviewing the chance to explain things in detail.
5. Establish boundaries
Even though you might want to go all the way with an interview and dig into every detail, sometimes it’s best to leave some things out. For instance, rather than asking the person you’re interviewing about their childhood, focus on what you know about them. If you’ve followed them on social media, you’ll know a lot about their personal life and what they’re like as a person. Be mindful of what you’re asking and establish clear boundaries. It’s also important to be mindful of how you ask the questions. Avoid using leading questions, which can sometimes be manipulative. Instead, establish good rapport and build on that to get the most out of the interview.
6. Follow up
Finally, after the interview, it’s important to follow up with the person you interviewed. Even if it was a short conversation and you didn’t get the answers you were looking for, it’s still good practice to stay in touch. It’s always better to stay connected and know what’s going on with your source rather than losing touch and finding out that they’ve written something negative about you. Even if you didn’t get a good vibe from the person you interviewed, it’s still good to stay in touch. It might not always be easy, but it’s always good for the long-term health of your relationship.
An unscripted interview with a celebrity can be difficult. However, by being honest and open-minded, you can still come out on top. Asking the right questions and being ready for the unexpected can help you get the most out of the situation and maintain a positive attitude toward the end. Most importantly, by being the bigger person, you’ll show that you’re willing to be responsible for your actions and accept the outcomes with good grace. Handling an unscripted interview with a celebrity can be challenging, but it’s still worth it in the end.