Small Business Trends Radio

How to Handle a Hostile Interviewer

Not long ago, Your Business Blogger was working an event and was looking at a life-threatening…media interview.

Not every small business owner is in danger of death when facing a hostile journalist. The business leader should always expect to be ambushed.

But these days, it might be more.

Aljazeera was at our doors asking — in a tone that sounding demanding — and asked Charmaine for our CEO.

Actually their tone was quite reasonable; it was the scimitars that were threatening.

But in keeping with Gore Vidal’s dictum — Never turn down the chance to have sex or to go on TV — I was conflicted.

To be able to render the best possible advice, I decided to find someone smarter than Your Business Blogger.

Which is usually not too hard to do.

Anita Campbell was not available, so I went to the next highest source for wisdom on this side of eternity.

John Fund.

John lives in New York, but fortunately spends a bit of time in Washington, DC, reporting on politics for The Wall Street Journal. I ran over to catch him at another event.

I interview the master interviewer.

John, if a reporter wants to hand your head to you, after taping the bloody mess, to post on the web, for our viewing pleasure, should the client consent to the interview or not?

John looks pained. “The first thing,” He says, “Is to ask shorter questions.”

Huh?

“You had no less than four prepositional phrases in that paragraph long question.”

Reporter humor.

John, how do I handle a deadly interviewer?

Fund is pleased with his student. The quick learner that I am.

We all are learning these days. Since the murder of the Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl, John understands my question all too well.

He has an instant answer.

Fund advises three options when the long knives come out.

A. Live taping only.

B. Taped, but air in its entirety, no editing.

C. Decline the interview.

Remember, every utterance by you, the small business owner, is captured and will be dissected by local industry reporters looking to move to a bigger market.

The request for an interview was declined. The “reporters” might have been more persuasive without the ski masks.

I like to read facial expressions, you see.

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John Fund and Your Business Blogger

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