Calming Down An Aggressive Interviewer

Most TV and radio interviews are conducted in a reasonably friendly manner – they’re looking for an interesting chat rather than a gladiatorial battle.  But if you have difficult questions to answer and you avoid them, you deserve a tough time. So, what’s the best way to handle it if things are getting heated?

  • Don’t interrupt a hostile question – a squabble makes you sound tetchy not reasonable. Let them make their point, then politely but firmly make yours.
  • Don’t nitpick – if the question is slightly inaccurately framed, deal with what you think they actually meant.
  • However, if the assumptions in their question are materially inaccurate, with important points misrepresented, politely but forensically explain why you beg to differ
  • Don’t try to get one up on the interviewer by telling them off for getting something wrong. It will only rebound on you, encouraging them to want to ‘win’ the argument by getting one over on you.  Putting the interviewer down never works, will make you look overbearing and arrogant rather than reasonable.
  • Lower the temperature. Instead of raising your voice or speaking faster to mirror an aggressive interviewer, gradually slow down and lower your voice to a reasonable tone, then the interviewer is more likely to cool down too.