On Being Interviewed

You’ve launched it! Your book, your product, your company – and now you want to tell the world. One way Buoyancy PR works with its clients to achieve this is through our emphasis on media interviews and professional preparation for this by developing a news release and interview questions, usually a full press kit including this and more.

And then we schedule some interviews for our clients. Most of us have never been interviewed by someone in the news media. The idea of a microphone being pushed under our noses is a bit daunting.  But if we are successful at interesting some media outlets in you and your book or project, that’s a huge win because behind that person with the mic is a media outlet that broadcasts or distributes to tens of thousands, sometimes millions, of people in the United States and around the world.

We think that’s pretty exciting, which is why we do what we do! But we understand it might be a bit scary.

So here are some tips about being interviewed that I like to share with my clients.

1. Breathe
2. Smile

You may think I’m being a smart aleck (well, maybe I am) but when you breathe you relax a little, and when you smile your face not only looks its best but even on the radio, a smile comes through.

Relaxing and enjoying the interview is one of the very best things you can do to approach the experience with confidence, another key element in being a great guest that’s engaging to listen to.

But here are a few other tips.

3. Review the interview questions that have been written and prepare by either writing out the answers or making notes, whatever works for you. But you are not going to need those notes most likely, and you of course are NOT going to read the answers. Do prepare some quick summary “sound bite” sentences that summarize your topic in an interesting way.

4. When you are asked a question whose answer will include Yes or No, don’t give an explanation and then end with the Yes or No. Instead, start with the Yes or No, then explain. This makes for a more interesting interview for the listeners and remember they can stop listening at any time. Also, most of your interviews will be edited. You will be edited more accurately if you get that Yes or No in first.

5. Remember you are the expert on whatever the topic is you are being interviewed about. We’ve covered that in this email series before. That should help give you confidence. Sure, there are likely others in the world more expert than you on your topic, but only you wrote your book or created your program so that makes you the expert in this sphere.

6. It is possible of course that the interviewer will go way off topic and ask you something you don’t know about. My advice there? You shouldn’t mind saying, “Why, I have no idea.” And then be prepared to take the topic back to one of the points you want to make.

7. Remember an interview is like a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth. Keep your answers short, and let the interviewer ask you for more. Sometimes I hear an author remark after an interview that the interviewer only asked a few questions. When I hear that, I think, Uh-oh. Because chances are that author’s answers were too long. This is not a sermon, or a lesson. It’s an interview.

8. Remember you are the guest on someone else’s show. They may take the interview a completely different direction than you had hoped, but that’s OK. They know their audience and any interview about your book or project is a plus.

9. But finally, make sure the interview concludes with either you or the host telling people how they can connect with you on social media or your website, and find your book or product.

10. And don’t forget to smile.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on October 22, 2021.
Joni Sullivan Baker
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