Media interviews can be tricky, and particularly so with live radio.   To follow are some tips to help you handle interviews confidently and make sure you get your message across clearly.

Why Should They Care?

Always approach an interview from the listener’s perspective.  Ask “Why should they care?” and not “What’s in it for me? ” This makes for a more engaging, memorable interview and the radio team will remember you as a person to invite back when they see the audience responding well.

Be Prepared and Think Soundbites

To avoid going off on tangents or creating a bad impression, prepare a ‘talking paper’ in advance.  This should contain the main points (a maximum of three) you want to make, written as soundbites- short and easily remembered lines suitable for repetition.  If and when nerves get the better of you it’s handy to have this by your side to get you back on track.

Do Watch Your Tempo

When we’re nervous we tend to talk fast.  So a good trick is to try tapping your foot slowly and in time when on air to set a tempo for your speech.  While being mindful of your speed do put some energy and enthusiasm into your voice.

Do Paint a Picture

If you’re on radio the obvious drawback is the lack of visual communication.   Use analogies, contrasts and anecdotes where possible to bring alive what you are talking about.

Avoid Jargon

Speak in plain English and avoid using acronyms or technical terms specific to your industry.

Finally, always keep cool, professional and in command of the interview.   You might even take a leaf out of this unfortunate bystander’s book when he was landed with a live interview as an Apple expert on BBC news.  Guy Goma, who had been waiting for a job interview, found himself being ushered into a studio and fitted with a microphone after raising his hand when a producer called out the name of the IT journalist he was due to pick up (Guy Kewney).