How to Make Your First Radio Interview a Success?
16 June 2021
A radio interview can give you some anxious moments. The audience is not visible to you and they can only hear your voice so their perception of your competence is the reality they take away.
However, that shouldn’t deter you from putting your best foot, or rather, your best voice forward! Here are some tips to help you make your first radio interview a success.
Prepare and Plan Ahead
You’re unlikely to get a list of questions – journalists guard their editorial integrity very carefully – this is not a collaboration! However, it’s a good idea to try and get a steer on how the interview might start so you know the areas you will be quizzed about.
Keep Your Notes Near You
Keep a notepad close to you with one or two themes or bullet points you wish to get across. This can help you when the questions are outside your comfort zone and you need to bring it back to your media training strategy. Keep a pen or pencil handy to make quick notes that you want to speak about later in the interview.
Check Your Mic Position
If you are still new to radio interviews, you need to make sure your mic is placed in a convenient position. Adjust your seat and mic well before the interview commences. You should be around 6 inches from the mic.
Listen to the Interviewer
Listen carefully to the interviewer and try to understand the question completely before you start responding. Your role is to acknowledge the reporter’s question and then to loop back to the main points you wish to make.
Be Friendly and Open in Your Answers
You must sound friendly when you answer the questions. Being too formal or using technical language may go over the head of the audience. Use informal, everyday words – which are jargon free – that your audience can relate to the first time they hear it.
Don’t Lose Your Patience
It’s not personal! This is a transaction and the presenter may ask you questions that you are not comfortable answering. Recognise that reporters are there to scrutinise the strength of your argument so questions can sometimes get a little tricky to negotiate. Your agenda is more important than the reporters, so make sure you stick to it.
You need to relax during the interview. Gather your thoughts. Drink some water if you feel your mouth or throat is getting dry.
Say Your Message Clearly
Ultimately what matters is how clear you are with your messaging. Emphasise important words and make sure you creatively rework and recycle your central ideas in order to narrow the focus and leave the audience with a clear idea as to why you were there. Devolving responsibility to those listening to sift and process a ‘buffet’ of different responses may mean you have lost control.