Doing a Great Interview

Top 10 Tips

Great radio or radio-style podcast interviews done by telephone don’t just happen; they take some work and effort. Your host on The Changing Behavior Network, for instance, prepares for three to six hours before going “on-the-air” with a guest. Much of this time is spent going over the guest’s bio and credentials, reviewing their book (and taking notes), and looking through comments and questions that are important to the guest.

talkingonradio - CopyWhen it’s “Showtime!” however, a great interview has a LOT to do with the guest. Here are a few suggestions that came from folks who have worked both sides of the microphone in radio interviews. These ideas and suggestions are excerpted from a great little e-book that covers every aspect of successfully marketing to and appearing on radio and podcast talk shows: Talk Radio is Looking For YOU! How to get your book and your message onto talk radio shows and podcasts.

1. Always ask for the host’s name, and use it once in awhile. Be certain to ask them before the interview how you should refer to them, as they might prefer a nickname. Also, make friends with the engineer if they are the one who sets up your call. Thank them by name before they turn you over to the show host. At the end of the interview thank the host AND the engineer. (You won’t believe the difference this makes!)

2. Always have a notepad handy to write down these names and the names of folks calling in (if it’s a call-in show). People like to hear their name, and it shows you are paying attention. A notepad is also handy if the guest or a caller says something you might want to address later.

3. Always stand as you do the interview. Not only does it “stretch” you lungs and help you breathe better, it keeps you on your toes (literally!). Smile as you talk, and be upbeat and positive.

4. VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to come up for air! A rookie mistake is to start talking and not give the host a chance to comment or ask a question. It’s the responsibility of the host to keep the show rolling, so let them do their job. Remember, a good show is a dialogue, not a monologue.

5. Try to avoid too many one-word answers. Instead, say something like, “Yes, I believe that is true,” or “I can certainly see how some folks would see it that way.”

6. Reflect back to the host and ask their thoughts and opinions once in awhile. They’ll love it, and it contributes to the power of the interview.

7. Be mindful of how you start an answer to a host’s question. It’s very common for a guest to go “Well, …” or “Uh, …” before they answer a question. Once a guest is aware of this tendency, it’s an easy problem to fix by simply going straight to the answer.

8. Don’t oversell your product. This is another rookie mistake. The host knows you’re there to make folks aware of your book or other accomplishment, so ask them how you should handle it. Often, the host will “sell” your product for you near the end of the show. This is the best way to position you and your book without seeming “pushy.” If you’re not sure how to approach talking about products, ask.

9. If it’s not already established with the host before the show, consider having something free for listeners. This positions you as being generous, and it drives folks to your website. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Checklists, ebooklets, articles, tips and videos are great examples of powerful “freebies.”

10. Have a “final thought” prepared. Often, the host will close by asking if there is anything else you like to add, or if there is something important that wasn’t covered. Joting down this thought before the show will prevent you from being caught off guard by the question, should it be asked. (It might even be a quick rephrasing of points you made during the interview.)