Recently I got the opportunity to interview New York Mets Citi Field warm up show host, Tara Bernstein. She walked me through her day as a host for a red carpet event and shared her go-to tips for interviewing people.
What’s your day like before hosting a red carpet?
As I approach the full day, I wake up with a million, little things to do! As a reporter and host, it’s extremely important to be prepared in all aspects. From working out to eating, to getting my hair and makeup done, to preparing my outfit before the carpet. This process can take a few hours or sometimes a full day if not prepared properly. I typically wake up at sunrise and then get a workout in at my Crossfit gym. Then I prepare snacks and make sure to find time to eat. I then begin to look at the list of people attending the event so I can prepare my questions and see what angle I want to approach the interview from. For me, I find it very important to stay relaxed, be myself and have the mindset that everyone I interview is friends of mine and it will be an easy and relaxed conversation. I don’t like to study the questions I’ll be asking interviewees because I end up getting stuck on only those questions. It’s important to make people feel comfortable before you interview them.
What’s your unique interview style?
I like to start with a question in mind and then continue with a genuine conversation. I try to make my interview style unique by finding something special about the person. This enables me to ask something different and intriguing that’ll allow them to share something they want other people to know. As a former college softball player, I’ve transferred handshakes into my career. Since I had so many handshakes with my teammates when interviewing someone I like to create a handshake for them to remember and if I see them again we have something to laugh about. This gesture always adds fun into the conversation!
What’s your best advice for reporters interviewing someone?
1. Be Genuine.
My interview style is subjective and personal. People can tell if you’re just talking to tell a story or if you are having a fun and stimulating conversation. It’s important to be genuine, yourself and engaged in the interview.
For example, I interviewed ex Yankees manager Joe Torre and I thought I was only going to be able to ask one question but we ended up having a great conversation. It wasn’t just about me asking him questions and receiving an answer. I was able to add onto his answers and it was genuine and exciting.
2. Be Confident.
Be confident and have FUN. Make sure you’re firm with what you’re asking and have a positive tone. People like people who like them and ultimately respect them. A lot of people think an ‘interview’ can be just a routine thing and have to be on their guard. The more they feel your confidence and fun personality, the smoother the interview goes.
3. Be present.
Being present and focused is extremely important. You need to pick up everything the interviewee has to say. You never know what you can come back with. Throughout the interview sometimes a phrase or answer you can playback to the interviewee and ask something more interesting or honest. Interviews aren’t supposed to always be Q&A’s, especially on the red carpet! These can be conversations, laid back and fun.
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