Saturday, April 02, 2005

Great Guests and Interviews

It's more important than ever right now to have impressive celebrity and/or expert guests on the morning show. Reality is in, and having fun with it is a powerful image-builder in competitive situations.

Some ground rules..

First, watch out for 'trained responses' (boring): Get them out of that 'media training' mode.

Great interviews arise from careful groundwork. You can ace your next interview if you:

1. Enter into a state of relaxed concentration. This is the state from which great basketball players or Olympic skaters operate. You'll need to quiet the negative self chatter in your head through meditation or visualization prior to sitting down in the meeting. You'll focus on the present moment and will be less apt to experience lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation. LISTEN! Then, respond for your heart and emotions.

2. Act spontaneous, but be well prepared. Be your authentic self, professional yet real. Engage in true conversation with your interviewee, resting on the preparation you did prior to coming to the meeting. Conduct several trial runs with another person simulating the interview before it actually occurs. It's the same as anticipating the questions you'll be asked on a final exam.

3. Set goals for the interview. Stick to them.

4. Know the question behind the question. Ultimately, every question boils down to, "Tell me something interesting and revealing about yourself?" Find away to address fears if you sense they are present.

5. Follow up with an effective "thank you" letter. Don't write this letter lightly. It is another opportunity to market yourself. Find some areas discussed in the meeting and expand upon them in your letter. This gets the next one and will make it even better

6. Consider the interviewee's agenda. These as well as other questions will be heavily on the interviewee's mind. Got those things out of the way fast, edit them out later if you don't want to use them on the air, then get to the 'real' good stuff.

7. Avoid the question, "Tell me about yourself." This is a pet question of prepared and even unprepared interviewers. Try to keep them out of 'auto-interview' mode.

8. Watch those nonverbal clues. Experts estimate that words express only 30% to 35% of what people actually communicate; facial expressions and body movements and actions convey the rest. Make and keep eye contact. Walk and sit with a confident air. Lean toward an interviewer to show interest and enthusiasm. Speak with a well-modulated voice that supports appropriate excitement for the opportunity before you. Pick up on and bring up any non-verbal cues your interviewee is using.

9. Tease the interview the day before and ask listeners to call in with their questions for the person. Then edit those down to the question only and make it sound like folks are calling the guest live with them.

10. Don't hang out dirty laundry. Be careful not to bare your soul and tell tales that are inappropriate or beyond the scope of the interview. But, if the interviewee's body language communicates that they are OK with the question area, GO for it. If you get a scoop, be sure to do PR releases about it to local and trade media.

OK.. now, how about your interview secrets?

1 comment:

Albright & O'Malley said...

Jones Radio Networks' Danny Wright All Night (web: or email: has this tip: if you do your research on your interviewee on Google or Yahoo, go WAY past the first five to ten links on the search page. Those are the ones everyone who interviews them will ask about. Go to the end of the search, looking for the more obscure items in their life that may elicit "wow.. how did you know that?" from your guest.