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Blueprints

How to do a killer political interview

Michaela O'Dea
Digital Marketing Executive
2 min read

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Political Interviews

Political interviews are no easy feat. Some political candidates describe sitting in front of a microphone about to face their first interview as a political candidate as one of the most daunting things they have experienced.  Finding a way to master this aspect of your public life can be very difficult but is completely necessary part of your political campaign strategy.

Three Points

A pivotal component of political interviews is that you are there to deliver a political message that aligns with your political campaign messaging. Split this message into three points and practice these points so you can clearly communicate them. Anything more than three points and people won’t remember them, any fewer and you will start to sound like you are repeating yourself, or have nothing to say.

For example, if you are talking about how the current administration is not doing a good job, then you might split it into the three points: the administration is not listening to voters; the administration has created a problem where there was none and; this is how the system needs to change with a new administration. Now you know what you are going to say and wherever the interview goes, you know that these are the points that you wish to come back to.

Be Passionate

This is something that all interviewees find difficult. When you are nervous it is easy to ‘freeze up’ and sound a bit wooden. The reality is that the listeners or viewers are going to be listening to your passion more than the things that you say. For this reason, it is important to have practiced your three points and be able to communicate them with real belief. If you can do this, people will respond positively to you, even if they don’t agree with you.

The First Question Rule

Political interviewers have probably done a little bit of research on the topic that you are discussing and may or may not have done some research on you. They are likely to have been given questions by their production team and will then react to what comes up in the political interview itself. The little-known fact is that your response to the first question is how you will get to ‘take control’ of the interview by inserting all three of your points in that response. The interviewers will probably take your cue (assuming you deliver it in a clear and compelling way) and let those three points lead the interview as a whole.

Stay Still

Ok, put away the pens, phones, rubber bands or anything that you can be fidgeting with. Sit up straight, face your interviewer, and put your hands on your knees or rest them lightly on the table in front of you. This will avoid any background noise, stop you looking nervous, and help you to focus on the task in front of you.

Your Interviewer Is Your Friend

Firstly, remember your interviewer is your peer, you are on an equal footing with this person, you are neither speaking down to her nor intimidated by them. In this way, you will avoid sounding either superior or afraid to the listeners. The effect of this is that you will also be speaking to the audience as if you were their peer and this is going to have a positive effect on the way they receive your message.

The Three Audiences

You have three distinct audiences to speak to in your political interview and they all require a different message or attitude. Firstly, you need to speak to your core supporters. They want to hear your political message and feel ‘that’s my guy’. Secondly, you need to speak to undecideds or potential supporters. They need to be convinced by your argument but also by your attitude and feel, ‘this guy really knows what he’s talking about’. Thirdly, you will need to speak to the broader audience including your competitor’s supporters. They will need to hear a credible speaker that might place some doubt in their minds about who they support.

Practice your three points as if you were addressing each of these audiences and get comfortable making the points with this in mind. This will allow you to change the way you make the points as you begin to repeat them through the interview.

This will also aid your community outreach efforts. Understanding the reaction of your audiences will help you align your political messaging to them.

Say It Again

You will need to repeat your points to have the best chance of them being heard by the audience. Don’t be a passenger in an interview, lead it yourself and come back to the points that you want to make.

Common Language

Using unusual language or retreating into jargon is another mistake we make when we feel under the pressure of an interview setting. Try to use common, accessible language and phrases that everyone will understand when making your points.

The Three-Minute Prep

Before your political interview starts, take three minutes in the green-room, or wherever you are to just calm yourself and focus on the three points you want to make. Turn off your phone and see yourself making the points confidently.

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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