Chip and Dave

Chip Scutari and Dave Cieslak, co-founders of Scutari and Cieslak Public Relations

Securing a media interview—whether it is for a printed publication or blog, radio or television—is exciting. It provides a great opportunity to highlight your company or organization, drive sales and position you as an industry thought leader. But then panic sets in as you worry about how you will prepare to ensure that you deliver your message while also coming across as likable, believable, and most of all, trustworthy.

Chip Scutari and Dave Cieslak, of Scutari & Cieslak Public Relations, possess strong journalism skills and a reporter’s instinct to deliver public relations and communications coaching to business professionals. With an impressive roster of clients in various industry sectors—including airline CEOs, real estate titans and telecommunications giants—Scutari & Cieslak help business leaders to maximize their message, stay in control and succeed during media interviews.

Whether you’re the CEO of a global conglomerate or the spokesperson of a small local organization, Scutari & Cieslak Public Relations offers valuable tips to increase your effectiveness in communicating key messages when faced with reporters who are firing off questions.

“Interviews can be daunting,” Scutari said. “But with some key tips and a little prep, you’ll get your message across concisely and avoid being portrayed in a negative light.”

“Going into the interview, have the mindset that you are in control,” Cieslak said. “Think of the media interview as if you’re having a conversation…like you’re talking with a friend. Know the single most important point you want to get across. And try to relax.”

“Be passionate,” Scutari added. “Don’t hide your natural passion and enthusiasm…let that shine. The more your passion comes out, the better the interview will go.”

Cieslak also stressed the importance of using concrete examples that are easy to understand.

“Paint a colorful example…it goes a long way in getting your point across,” explained Cieslak. “Remember to use the phrase ‘for example’ as a great way to support your main message.”

Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

Be prepared. Being adequately prepared goes a long way. Interview prep is what makes the difference between a so-so interview and a great interview. “Being prepared will help shape the narrative of the public perception of you and your organization,” Scutari said. Don’t veer off topic and be a run-away train. Always remember to always come back to your key messages.

Be concise. Come into the interview with three concise messages. Keep your sound bites short…20-second or 30-second answers maximum. Being concise gives an interviewer a strong quote. Take a deep breath and remember to stay focused on what you’re trying to convey or promote.

Don’t mislead, lie or speculate. Stick to what you know and don’t get off track. Otherwise, it raises a red flag with reporters and may prompt them to ask even more questions that you aren’t prepared to answer. If you don’t know an answer, it’s OK to find out and get back to the reporter in a timely manner. And be sure to ask what the reporter’s deadline is so you can get that info in time.

‘No comment’ is no good. ‘No comment’ are two words that should never be in your vocabulary during a media interview. It comes off as lying, evasive and not trustworthy. So what can you say instead? “We don’t have all the details at this time…as soon as we know more, we will contact you” or “What we can tell you at this time is”…and then just stick to the known facts at this time.

Other great tips from Scutari & Cieslak Public Relations include:

Get to know your local reporters. They can make or break you. They can put you in a positive or negative light. Getting to know the local journalists and reporters will go a long way in building positive relationships with your local media, which in turn will increase your positive media coverage.

Think in terms of headlines. Have a few strong sound bites in your back pocket and be ready to use them.

Nothing is off the record. Even if the reporter tells you that the interview is over, but has one final question off the record, be cautious and choose your words carefully. Everything you say is fair game.

These great tips from Scutari & Cieslak Public Relations are key to media interview success. And the next time a reporter contacts you for an interview or invites you to appear on a television or radio program, you’ll be prepared, as well as calm, cool and confident.

To learn more about Scutari & Cieslak Public Relations, visit



Posted by Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports business growth and drives economic development in the region by helping members stay connected and prosperous, growing the economy through Phoenix Forward, our collaborative economic development partnership, and advocating for pro-business policies.