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“CAN YOU READ THAT BACK TO ME?”: A CHEAT SHEET FOR A POSITIVE INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE

September 14, 2017
September 14, 2017
Sam McGhee via Unsplash

As you know, beauty insiders are frequently called upon to comment on a company/trend/product or (gasp!) a beauty industry scandal. Here is a quick, down-and-dirty cheat sheet to ensure your off-the-cuff comment doesn’t end up as tomorrow’s headline:

  1. If you are contacted via email, request the reporter send over questions in advance. When you do, it’s nice to include “Because I want to be sure to give them appropriate consideration.”
  2. Look up the reporter’s past work so you can see the kind of angle she or he generally takes. When you respond to them, it’s also nice to include, “I so enjoyed your piece on X.”
  3. If you pick up the telephone and the reporter is on the line, ask if he or she is on deadline. If not, ask for the questions. If so, ask if you can call them back in a minute after you’ve collected your thoughts. If they need an immediate response, ask if you can have a few moments of quiet to consider what you want to say.
  4. Assume that nothing is off the record. Ever.
  5. Do not say “No comment.” This lands for readers as obstructive/defensive.
  6. Avoid useless modifiers (“great” “amazing” “incredible” etc.). Talk about how the product will (or won’t) change someone’s life.
  7. Once you’ve given your statement, request the reporter read it back to you to ensure you’ve been quoted accurately.
  8. If it’s acceptable to you, simply make sure they have the correct spelling of your name and any contact information you want used.
  9. If not, don’t point fingers. Instead of saying, “That’s not what I said,” I recommend, “Actually, I think you misheard or misunderstood. The exact quote is, ‘X.’”
  10. Thank them for their time and offer to send the article around to your mailing list once it is available.
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