Recently a client of mine e-mailed me in a panic. She booked her first radio interview as a published author. “The interviewer wants 10 questions from me. What do I send him?”
I helped her come up with compelling questions and we did a role play so she could practice.
Here are some of the tips I shared:
1. Think like your audience. Who will be listening to the interview? What do you think they most want to know? What will resonate most for them? Speak their language and speak to their biggest concerns, pains and desires.
2. It’s not about the book. Focus on the information you have to offer to improve the lives of the people listening. Yes, you want them to buy your book (if you have one), but you’re on the air to make a difference. Book sales will stem from service and relevance.
3. Avoid generalities. Tell short, entertaining stories to illustrate your points.
4. Interviewers love sound bites. Create catchy phrases and pithy sound bites around the points you make.
5. Be succinct. The most engaging interviews have an upbeat pace and the banter goes back and forth between host and guest. Hosts find it frustrating if you talk on and on, especially if you’re not on point.
6. Write out your answers to your questions and have them in front of you. Of course, practice until you get it down before your first interview. You should know your answers inside out. Still, you may get nervous. It can’t hurt to have a cheat sheet in front of you in case you space out. And it may make you feel more relaxed.
7. Stand up. Your voice and demeanor will naturally be more commanding and confident when you stand. Your vibrant energy level will come across.
8. Have fun. The more you enjoy yourself, the more your audience will, too. Don’t be afraid to use humor.
9. Be spontaneous. Once you’ve prepared and practice, allow room for spontaneity to take over. Be grounded and centered for the call and connect with your host.
10. Don’t mention your book too often. It’s the host’s job to talk about your book. Don’t overdo book mentions. On the other hand, if your host doesn’t mention the book at all, by all means, mention it towards the end. Most hosts are quite gracious, however.
Good luck with that first interview! It gets easier each time. Soon, you’ll be a pro.