7 WAYS TO NAIL YOUR NEXT RADIO INTERVIEW
09th Jul 2021, Author: Candice Burgess-Look
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy,
He’s nervous, but on the surface, he looks calm and ready” Lyrics to ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem
Sound familiar? I’ve had a client tell me this song was playing in his mind on loop just moments before he went live on air for a radio interview. You’ll be absolutely fine I said, and he was, he nailed it. Despite being riddled with nerves, this particular client was so great on-air that the presenter called me afterward to compliment him.
What was his secret? Well, Fred (I’ve changed his name..you know, POPIA and whatnot), followed a few simple interview guidelines that I’m going to share with you. While they may seem easy, rarely are they followed, and as a result, interviewees fumble carelessly through on-air segments, missing out on an opportunity to make a lasting impression in the minds of their target audience.
My aim with this blogpost is not to scare you into not wanting to do interviews, but to rather inspire you to put your best foot forward, even when you’re as nervous as Fred was.
Here are 7 ways to do just that:
1. Make peace with the nerves
They likely won’t go away. It was Michael Jordan who said, “being nervous isn’t a bad thing, it just means something important is happening.” And if that doesn’t do it for you, turn it on its head and remember to not take yourself too seriously, it’s not life or death stuff.
2. Love what you do and you’ll find your flow
You can’t fake this. If you don’t really care about your product or service or whatever you are trying to ‘sell’ on-air, it’s going to come through in your interview. Passion will trump fear every time. Sometimes the topic you are talking about might be a little removed from your core product, but if you tie it back to what you do and harness that passion, you’ll find your flow.
3. Address the interviewer by name
The key to feeling relaxed in an interview is to feel like you’re just having a conversation, and one way to get things started is to make the interviewer feel comfortable. Remember, they likely haven’t spoken to you before, they don’t know if this interview is going to feel like drawing blood from a stone or if it’s going to run smoothly. Make them feel at ease with you by simply addressing them by their name a few times. It immediately establishes unspoken respect and creates a safe space for some good old back and forth. To quote another famous figure “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” Dale Carnegie.
4. NEVER read your answers
I had to capitalise the word never. It’s one of the worst things you can do on-air. The listener can pick it up right away. It comes across as being unprepared and tells the presenter that you are the wrong spokesperson for the interview. Know your product or service inside out and you won’t need to read anything.
5. Keep abreast of your industry news
It’s advantageous to have a holistic understanding of your industry and talking points related to it. This is what Fred did well, he was well-read on the happenings in his specific field, which made for an interesting conversation and established him as a thought-leader in the minds of the listeners.
6. Always think about the listener
Don’t use the interview as a hard sales pitch. That’s not fair to the listener or the presenter. Instead, tell a story with your answers. Give the listeners content that they will find interesting and thought-provoking. Think along the lines of ‘did you know that’ or ‘a recent study suggests.’ Try and keep the listener engaged. I promise you they don’t want to spend their time getting the technical run-down on your product or service. What they want is to be moved, inspired, informed, or entertained. Your product or service will receive organic exposure if you always keep the listener in mind when answering questions. Hard sales will prompt listeners to switch off, not only because they didn’t tune in to be sold to, but because it’s boring!
7. Slow it down
Slowing things down is an instant calming technique. If you find yourself stumbling or falling over words, just take a breath and speak slower. This was Fred’s saving grace, above all, he kept his cool. Slow and steady wins the race.
Now wipe the sweat off your palms and go nail that interview!