How to Prepare for a Radio Interview

by Mitchell Levy, link CEO & Author, decease THiNKaha, Chief Evangelist, Gurus4Media

It is not uncommon for authors and business leaders to be asked to do radio interviews. Authors will often conduct interviews when a new book is being published. Business leaders, including small local business owners, will often do radio interviews when there are news to be announced about their businesses or their products and services. In both cases, it is always best to be prepared. This is not as challenging as some might believe.

Before the interview (whether it is in person or on the phone), spend some time considering what the main message is you want to convey. One of the most common mistakes people make is when they start to “wander” about in the conversation with the host(s). Know in advance what it is you want to say about the main issue or topic and have that information secured in your mind. If the interview focuses on a specific topic, have the facts ready. Have notes to refer to during the interview if needed.

If you are an author who has just published a book, create reference notes that include any type of facts, like publishing dates, important people involved, any special niche significance that the book fills, etc. Also, it’s nice to have contact information on hand, such as website information, physical addresses, phone numbers, pertinent information if there are special events planned, etc. Be sure that the information you provide is wholly relevant to the conversation.

Another great way to prepare for interviews is to anticipate the questions that may be asked of you. Write down your answers—you don’t necessarily have to write them down verbatim (that can end up sounding stiff and ungenuine), but developing a bulleted list of key talking points can be helpful. Even if you do not know the exact form the question will take, anticipate, at the very least, some of the more common-type questions that interviewers typically ask. Be ready to answer these as concisely as possible. BTW: many producers/hosts will want you to send a list of potential questions. So prepare your list and share them ahead of time so that both you and the host can be prepared for a good interview.

Practice your answers. This means actually speaking the answer aloud (in private or with close friends or family) to see if your words reflect exactly what you want to say. This will also help to relieve nervousness and anxiety. Remember, the more you do something, the less uncomfortable you will be with doing it.

Don’t be afraid to interject some clean humor. If a witty line comes to mind, use it as long as it pertains to the topic of discussion. The last thing you want to do is bore the audience with nothing but cut-and-dry facts and figures. Don’t attempt to be a comedian (unless that is what you are) during interviews, but some easy humor will go a long way in establishing a bond between you and the audience.

When responding to questions, speak to the host of the radio show and not to the audience at large. Interject the host’s name a few times, so listeners will know that you are in-tune with him or her; that, in turn, helps a great deal to establish your bond with the audience. That said, you should include stories that directly relate to the audience. It’s important that you give them ways that they can internalize what you are saying so they can apply it to themselves.

Apply these simple tips, and your radio interview will be a success.

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