When it comes to marketing and getting exposure for your business, the more interviews you can give to magazines, eZine publishers, website owners, radio talk show hosts, television talk show hosts, podcast show hosts … you name it, the better it will be for your career, business and your bank account!
But, when it comes to giving those interviews and being interviewed, you have to be ready. How do you prepare? Simple, follow these 10 easy ways to improve your interview skills and you’ll be ready to approach and attract all the interviews you can get!
1. Listen to other people get interviewed on the radio, on the Internet and listen to WHAT they say and HOW they respond …
- Yes, actively listen to people getting interviewed on the radio, Internet radio, podcast shows, etc. Listen, listen, listen. The more you hear others get interviewed, the more you’ll learn and the more comfortable you’ll feel when it’s your turn to get behind the microphone and be interviewed.
- Listen to short and long interviews, and play along with the host as if you’re the one being interviewed. Prepare for short and long interviews. Have a list of 6-12 questions, and a longer list of questions (i.e., 24-48 questions), so you’re prepared for any length of interview.
- Can you learn anything from how others respond in their interview? Absolutely! Are they prepared? To the degree they “perform” in front of the microphone/camera; you too, need to match their performance or soar past it! Oh, by the way, interviewing is a performance; don’t forget that. You are an entertainer – when you’re interviewed. So, you too, have to entertain the audience, not just the person interviewing you. Entertain them with great answers, a smile, laughter and the “real you!” You’re the guest (of honor) on their show, get excited!
- What do people, who get interviewed, SAY? HOW do they respond? Do they sound nervous, uneasy, uncomfortable, pressured, angered (by the interviewer), excited, happy, etc. Do not allow the interviewer to agitate you or make you angry. KEEP YOUR COOL, throughout the interview. Never raise your voice, never yell out your answers, never talk over other guests or the host, and never ever …. lose your cool. Stay calm throughout, even if you don’t get the chance to speak, ’cause there are other guests (losing control), don’t you lose control. Show the mature you and stay cool. After the interview is over, what will people walk away knowing? That YOU were cool, and the others (who lost control) were NOT! No matter what your position is on a topic, people respect people who are always in control of their emotions. Stay in control … always!
- During the interview, how do others come across? Do they sound/look good/bad? You might only be on the air for 5 minutes (maybe longer) … keep your cool, look good and you’ll be remembered for how you composed yourself, your quick/intelligent responses, positive energy, etc.
- Learn from others and don’t repeat the bad, but only the good. Seriously, if you see someone say something YOU thought about saying, or could SEE YOURSELF SAYING, but you saw how the host and/or the audience responded (negatively) to it? Don’t say it! Strike it off your “can say” list when giving interviews. Or, reword it so it has leaves a positive impression, rather than a negative one.
- Sometimes, you can pick up certain catch phrases or soundbites (listening to others being interviewed), which you can use in your own interviews. Listening to others being interviewed also educates you on topics and subjects of all kinds. All of which turns you into a great interviewee!
- You can learn a lot about the interview process just by listening to hosts (of all kinds on a variety of shows) interview other people. How do they go about introducing guests, running the show, asking questions, introducing breaks for sponsor ads, bringing back the interviewee (i.e., you) into the conversation again …
- If you’re going to be on a particular show, or would like to be on specific show to be interviewed, here’s a great tip for you to ensure your success of (a) getting it and (b) being interviewed on the show … LISTEN TO 10+ PAST SHOWS where they interviewed a guest so you can learn more about the host’s style for interviewing guests. When you can get a feel for that host and how they interview and how you can help them better interview you, all the better.
- Get familiar with different style formats; single guest (i.e., you), multiple guests, multiple hosts, etc. By doing this, you’ll get comfortable with many formats and not surprised by any of them. Listen to several different interviews to pick up on these formats; study them and master them in your mind!
- Specifically, how are they asking the questions? In a friendly manner, or an antagonistic manner to produce/generate some form of controversy (with you) to help their show’s ratings? Choose, ahead of time, if you’d like to be interviewed in a positive light, or if you’re strong enough to go into the jungle and be interviewed by someone only interested in boosting their ratings by placing you in hot situations that might only agitate you and not really bring the best out of you for the audience. Why take on a tough interview like that then? For exposure and to set the record straight, if you have something to say about a specific topic! Otherwise, pass on the negative ones and only take on the positive interviews. Your press room will thank you for doing them …
- Be prepared to be interviewed by all kinds of people. Listen to and imagine yourself being interviewed by different people.
Imagine yourself being interviewed by that host. How would you respond to their questions? Rehearse in your mind over and over and over again!
3. Watch others being interviewed on TV and on the Internet often …
- What can you learn by WATCHING people get interviewed? A LOT! You learn what to wear and what not to wear; how to respond and how not to respond; how to sit/stand and how not to … among many other attributes to giving live, in-person, video-recorded interviews for television or distribution on the Internet.
- Watch how the person being interviewed composes themselves physically. Do they lean forward, sway side to side when responding to questions or do they close their eyes when answering! When it comes to your eyes, keep them open and on target (looking at the host, camera or the audience from time to time). Be mindful that you’re not closing your eyes or looking side-to-side when giving your answers. That makes you look like you’re lying, don’t believe in what you’re saying, or are uncomfortable answering the questions.
- Are they groomed well? Honestly, if you’re ever interviewed on television or other video outlet, look your best! Look sharp, look great, look fresh, well-rested the night before, look hot! Get help grooming yourself, if you must, but always look your very best! Before you open your mouth to say a single word, people will already judge you based on your image, look and the way you carry yourself on screen and in front of the audience.
4. Record your own interviews and learn from them …
- Absolutely! Record all your interviews and post them on your website’s press room! AFTER, of course, you edit some of the front and back end of the audio so your listeners get to the meat right away … Oh, feel free to edit out the commercials too. I do!
- You can Get AudioAcrobat and use their service to record your telephone interviews. Or, you can ask the host to give you the name of the producer to see if they’ll give you a copy of the interview either on CD or via MP3 download.
- If you’re going to be interviewed live in front of a video camera (for a live televised show), find out the date it will air and get ready to record it with your DVD/VCR recording machine. DVR it if you have to! Or, have someone you trust record it. Then, add it to your press room, for sure!
- Because you record every interview, you can listen to them and learn from them. What did you say that you won’t ever say again? What did you say that you’d like to use in other interviews. Write them all down, make notes and make every interview from this point forward the best ever!
5. Know your topic inside and out and be excited about telling your story …
- When you know your topic of expertise inside and out you interview well, because you have a ton of information you can turn into answers at every corner (i.e., question) of the interview.
- Be able to introduce yourself and what you do and your topic up front and in short concise answers. “Yes, well I do _______ and help _______, so they _______.”
- Read, read, read everything you can get your hands on about your topic of expertise. Always be learning more, gaining new insights, facts, figures, etc., which you can use in your interview.
- Attend seminars, lectures and workshops on your topic of expertise. Again, gain new insights into your topic of expertise, which you can share with others in your interview.
- Further, the more you know about your topic of expertise, the more interviews you can be on. If you only know a little bit, you’ll only be asked to do a few interviews. But, the more you know,
the more interviews you can be asked to give.
- Also, have written out 5-10 questions and their answers printed out so you can read it over and over again. You could also record the questions and your answers and listen to it over and over again. And, write out 10-20 questions and their answers for a longer interview. Again, print out the questions and the answers and go over them a lot. Be prepared, rehearsed and know your subject inside and out …
6. Don’t talk on and on, even though you were asked a question …
- When asked a question, give a detailed response. But, don’t go on and on trying to make your point with fact after fact after fact. Remember, there are two people in this interview; you and the host. It’s a two-way street and you have to save room for them to ask you more questions.
- This doesn’t mean one word answers are allowed either. No, never respond with one word answers. If the answer to their question is “yes” or “no”, then say so, but add a little something to the “yes” or “no” response …. “Yes, because if you ….”
- Always remember, the interviewer wants to ask you a lot of questions so they can get a lot of information out of you for the benefit of their audience. They’re not going to ask you two questions and then give you the microphone for the rest of the entire show. No. The show belongs to THEM, the host. Don’t forget that. They ask the questions, you answer them.
- So, be polite, give the interviewer plenty of room to ask their questions by ending your answers after a few seconds of “response” …. Sure, you might have more to say, but don’t. Leave the audience wanting more, let the host ask you a new question … Because of your answer, they might have a new or different question to ask you. But, if you don’t (shut up) after a few words, they’ll never be able to ask you …
7. Have your “freebie” ready and be excited to share it …
- Don’t get interviewed by everyone you can just for the sake of being interviewed. Your goal (being interviewed) is to grow your business and your list of new prospects, in addition to building credibility having been interviewed dozens, hundreds even thousands of times over the course of your career!
- The way you build your list of prospects, when interviewing, is to invite your listening audience to take advantage of a “freebie” you’re offering during the interview. “Yes, you can get free excerpts of my new book at my website, www.YourDomain.com.” Or, “Get my free report on xyz ______ at my website, go to www.YourDomain.com.” Or, “Call 1-800-000-0000 to get your free audio program!”
- When you’re interviewed, you have the ability to reach hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who love and adore the host who’s interviewing you. If you’re on their show, most likely, there’s a good chance, your audience will like you too. So? Have a freebie ready to give to the audience. This could be in the form of a free report, eZine/newsletter, audio program, book excerpt, etc.
8. Have your “special offer” ready, polished and ready to share …
- In addition to having your “freebie” ready to build your list of prospects who you can sell to later, you should also plan to have a “special offer” you can give to the audience who’s listening to you being interviewed.
- “HOST’S NAME, I’d like your listeners to know, they can get a 15% off my new book at my website if they mention your name!” Or, “If you buy today, and mention you heard me on your show, I’ll give you a two for one deal … Buy one of my books and I’ll give you a second for free …”
- Or, something similar! Come up with your own “special offer” and rehearse it! Be prepared to offer it at the end or just before each sponsor/commercial break if they let you. Make it known and repeat it throughout the show; and especially at the end.
- You can give out special code numbers that give listeners a discount on your products or a specific product when they go through the shopping cart if you use certain shopping carts that let you create them.
9. Always slip your website address into the conversation …
- It goes without saying, always be prepared to slip in your website address(s) in your interview.
- “Well, at YourDomain.com, I mention xyz …” Or, “I have more information about that at my website, www.YourDomain.com …” Or, “You can listen to / read more / watch my videos at my website, www.YourDomain.com …”
- You’d be surprised how many authors are interviewed today on big TV and radio stations who do not have a website address! How do they expect to bring more attention to all they have to offer?
- And, when you’re being interviewed, you only have “so little time” to get your message out give out so much information. And, in reality, that means, you have just a window of time to tell all that you have to say. So, what do you do? You give out your website, where interested listeners can learn more about who you are, your products, articles, etc.
10. Practice with others who can answers …
- This is very helpful when you’re just starting out. Have your list of questions, written down and printed out, so a friend, family member, business associate, etc., can interview you.
- Practice giving your answers. Keep them short, yet detailed.
- Ask for feedback from the person who interviewed you. How did you sound? Do you need to come up with more material for a specific question? Or, do you need to shorten the response for another.
- Practice makes perfect, every time. So, practice, practice, practice!
BONUS NOTES, IDEAS & MATERIAL
Remember to send a “Thank you!” note to the person who interviewed you. Perhaps, they chose to interview you among many others. Show them your appreciation for helping you bring attention to your business and/or topic of expertise. And, if you made money from being interviewed (i.e., sales from the radio show), don’t necessarily tell them you made any sales, but do thank them for having you on their show! You owe them that, at the very least, big time!
- Say, “Thank you!” in the form of a card you mail to them; after sending them a quick note via eMail. Follow up, in writing by actually mailing something! You might also leave a message on their voice mail saying the same thing. It does wonders, ’cause no one else does that! Nobody mails anything any more; especially to say “thank you” …
- Here’s one way you’ll stand out, by taking the time to say, “Thank you!” That always makes the host feel great and it might even get you back on the show again. A good thing! “Yes, the last time you were on the show we talked about … What’s new and exciting in the field of (your topic) ….?” And, your response? “A lot! Let me tell you what’s hot … “
- Ask the host, co-host or even the producer if you can get a quick testimonial from them (on the phone or via eMail you send them to reply to) about you being a guest on their show. Did they enjoy you being on their show? Did their audience love you? Did the producer enjoy working with you? Where you a great guest? The answers to these questions, in the form of a testimonial on your site or inside your press kit, will help you secure your next interview in a flash! Why? Because if one talk show host likes you, chances are, the next one will too! Piggy-back one successful interview after the other, until you have a pile of interviews stacked up and everyone wants to interview you!