After being interviewed by the truly remarkable MomsRising radio show for RETURN TO ME and WHAT NOW, here are some crowdsourced top tips for conducting a radio interview. All of this is gleaned from working with marvelous PR experts over the years, from Waggener Edstrom to Edelman. As well, media trainer and radio personalities have added to the list. (Thank you, Dave Yewman, CJ Liu, Cathy Oloffson, and Lida Citroen.) Please add on and SHARE…so we all become better and more engaging communicators!
1. To prepare for the interview, first LISTEN to the radio show so you understand the content, format, and tone.
2. Before the interview, make sure to watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power poses. Make sure to power pose for 2 minutes PRIOR to the radio interview. This will increase your testosterone and decrease your cortisol. You will feel more grounded and your voice more powerful. Then, as Dave Yewman advises, “Smile.” Even during a radio interview where no one can see you, a smile will add energy, enthusiasm, and life to your voice.
3. Charge your phone.
4. If the interview is over Skype / Google Hangout and your face will be seen, be sure to clip 2 booklights onto either side of your computer to cast as much light onto your face as possible. While vampires are great in books and in movies, not so much when you’re being interviewed onscreen. Elevate your computer so you are looking straight on. And as Lida360 says, “If you’re doing Skype/Hangout, be mindful what’s in your background shot. I’ve seen interviews where people have client data or inappropriate photos on the wall in their shot. Not so good for the brand.”
5. Think about what “headline” your listeners might write after your radio interview. THEN ask yourself whether the top 3 points you make will earn that headline.
6. Create a cheat sheet with your top 3 speaking points. Place that directly in front of you during the interview. THEN, during the interview, with every question that you are asked, quickly assess how you can answer the question and deftly weave in one of your top points.
7. Craft at least 3 Tweet-worthy soundbites–short quips that encapsulate your thoughts…that the radio interviewer might repeat after you. That listeners might Tweet and repeat. For instance, “RETURN TO ME is my Valentine to my kids and every person who’s ever been betrayed.” Or “WHAT NOW shows women how to turn the DUST of betrayal into the STARDUST of new life.”
8. Then during the interview, STAND. You will sound stronger and more engaged.
9. Keep a glass of water on-hand in case you need it. You can quickly mute the phone while the interviewer is talking and sip your water… (Of course, if you’re on Skype / Google Hangout, don’t do this.)
10. Keep a phone charger on-hand in case… The worst thing to happen is if your battery starts dying…because you’ve disregarded Tip #3.
11. THANK the interviewer. And then afterwards, make sure to follow up with another thank you. You’ve been given a gift to connect with the interviewer and his /her listeners.
12. Take a pause. As CJ Liu says based on her experience as a radio show host, “There’s nothing worse than a guest that doesn’t stop for air. The back-forth is more interesting to the ear.”
13. Craft some good stories. CJ and Dave Yewman both say, “People will remember stories more than anything.”
14. Pretend you are talking to a good friend and NO ONE else is listening. CJ notes, “Listeners like intimacy like they are listening in on a private conversation.”
15. Think of the worst questions you could be asked. Cathy Oloffson, communications expert, says, “Identify how you’d like to respond and then bridge your response back to your key messages.”