Do Your Preparation

George Stephanopoulos

Lesson time 13:21 min

Get to know George’s research process. Find out how, as a broadcaster, he got ready for high-profile interviews with presidents and his conversation with former FBI Director James Comey. Learn how to prepare for navigating unexpected situations.

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Topics include: Do Your Preparation * Reading In * Case Study: The Presidential Interview * Facts Are Not Semantics * High-Stakes Communication * Points To Remember


[UPBEAT MUSIC] - Nothing is more important than preparation before communicating. It's everything. If you haven't done your homework, if you don't know what you're talking about, if you haven't absorbed the information, you can't communicate clearly. It's just not possible. So for me, that's the bedrock. Preparation is the bedrock. It's what I do. It's how I start every day. It's what I consider to be the most important part of the job. If you don't know what you're talking about, you can't talk. I'm going to talk about my preparation process. Think about how this applies to communication in your own life and work. How do you need to prepare? [UPBEAT MUSIC] I spend the first part of my day not focused on any one interview, any one show, any broadcast. I spend it just trying to figure out, make sure I know everything I can within the time I have about what's going on in the world. My days start early. I get up around 2:30. I meditate, take a shower, I get to work. And I'm basically in the office by around 3:30. And the first two hours are dedicated to reading. My first reading is, I do deep dives on the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal. But also then branch out, read more broadly. I take a look at the New York Post. I take a look at the Drudge Report. I read a variety of websites in the morning from all kinds of political perspectives. I read Talking Points Memo, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Slate, Politico, National Review, Real Clear Politics, Bloomberg, Financial Times. After I've read deeply on a couple of the major newspapers, what I'm looking for in each individual site is something that I haven't seen anywhere else. I mean, it's a sort of scanning for something that feels different, that is something I may not have heard or seen somewhere else. And I do dedicate the first two hours of the day to that every single day, having that kind of broad preparation for whatever may come. You don't always have a lot of warning before an interview. Sometimes, you know, you get a phone call. This happened in 2021. I guess it was late Monday afternoon. It was probably 5 or 6 o'clock. For me, that's almost night time. And Katie Bosland, our booker at Good Morning America, called and said, "Are you free on Wednesday? President Biden may want to talk to you." And I kind of laughed at her. I said, "Well, I'll make myself free for President Biden if he wants to talk to me." But that wasn't a lot of time of prep for a presidential interview. [UPBEAT MUSIC] I think I've interviewed every president since the first President Bush. And you can't do that if you're not very well-prepared, if you haven't done great research. When I do a major presidential interview, we pull together the transcripts from all their past interviews, just to be familiar, again, with his cadence, with the kinds of things he would say, the way he would handle questions. Then a great produce...

About the Instructor

Legendary interviewer and broadcaster George Stephanopoulos has navigated challenging interviews for more than 30 years—as former White House communications director and presently as co-anchor of Good Morning America. Now he’s teaching you how to project confidence under pressure and draw the best value from your own professional and personal interactions, becoming a stronger, more intentional communicator.

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George Stephanopoulos

Award-winning interviewer George Stephanopoulos teaches you his techniques for producing authentic, meaningful conversations.

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