I had my first radio interview this week with Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones on WJFK-AM 1580 CBS Radio Washington WNEW-FM 99.1. When I received the request I was thrilled but I also knew I was entering new promotional territory.
Dr. Jones' radio show is called "Where World Thinkers and Leaders Come to Chat." Love it. He is a pro with an interview archive of over one hundred interviews. He has interviewed a who's who of business thinkers―Stephen Covey, Jack Canfield, Harvey MacKay, Zig Ziglar, and Brian Tracey― and celebrities―Barbra Streisand, George Foreman, Howie Mandel, Stedman Graham and Ashley Judd. I had a lot of work to do to prepare.
The first thing I did was review media pointers that my publicist team had given me. I complemented this information with a Google search on "how to conduct a radio interview". I also listened to a few of Dr. Jones' interviews. He is an eloquent and professional interviewer, which was good to know, but also put pressure on me to be an eloquent and professional guest.
I prepared my interview space by placing notes around my desk in large text and with highlighted soundbites. I also had a glass of water by my side in case of emergencies. I was as ready as I could be.
The interview went by in a flash. I made a few stumbles but nothing major. The more I relaxed, the better my answers sounded.
Listening to the interview again for the first time, just minutes before I wrote this post, I noticed how many times I said "actually" (10) and "I think" (6)―10 and 6 too many times. Overall, I am happy with my answers and the tone of my voice but know there is more work to do.
Here are my top 10 tips for conducting a radio interview:
- Prepare three key messages you want to communicate and stick to them
- Rehearse your introduction and close
- Have notes in front of you and don't use them (the preparation process is the benefit)
- Tell stories and give common examples
- Keep your answers to thirty seconds (any longer and you may lose focus)
- Be conversational
- Smile while you are talking (it will come through your voice)
- Don't speak too quickly (practice speaking just before the interview)
- Use a headset to improve your flexibility and gesturing (I missed this one)
- Thank your interviewer after the interview - Dr. Jones was the best
I learned a lot from my first radio interview and my next one will be better. It has opened up a new promotional vehicle for Change with Confidence, one that I am keen to go after. It has also given me a conversation starter if I ever meet Barbra Streisand.